Diagnosis on Sight: Neck Bruising Leads to a Surprise Diagnosis

A 76-year-old female with a history of HTN, TIA, CAD, left CEA, and CKD presented to the emergency department for evaluation of neck bruising and swelling. The patient stated that the night before, she was eating popcorn and choked on a kernel. She states that she coughed to clear her throat and shortly after she developed swelling and bruising to the left side of her neck, which has progressively gotten worse. The patient has a remote history of left carotid endarterectomy and was concerned that her symptoms could be related to the prior surgery. On examination, she had ecchymosis and a hematoma/mass to the left side of her neck without palpable thrill or bruit. A well-healed CEA scar was noted. A CTA of the neck was obtained to determine the source of the ecchymosis/hematoma. What is the diagnosis?

A large neck mass with venous bleeding causing cervical hematoma and ecchymosis.

Explanation:

Neck Mass

Image 2. This axial CT angiogram image shows the large left-sided mass with vessels and hemorrhage, which appears to originate from the inferior parotid.

Spontaneous cervical hematoma is an uncommon condition, which can be life-threatening [1]. This first case of spontaneous neck hematoma was described by Capps who observed this condition in a patient with a parathyroid adenoma [2]. Symptoms of neck hematoma include the classic triad named for Capps, which consists of:

  •       tracheal and esophageal compression
  •       neck edema and ecchymosis
  •       tracheal displacement

The condition can be caused by a variety of etiologies including bleeding from masses, underlying coagulopathies, rupture of aneurysms, and infections [1]. CT angiography is typically the test of choice to evaluate the source and extent of bleeding [3]. Large hematomas can lead to airway compromise and require airway and surgical/IR intervention. Smaller, stable hematomas may be observed and can be self-limited. The underlying etiology of the hematoma should be sought and treated.

Case Conclusion:

The hematoma and ecchymosis resolved over time without intervention. The patient underwent ultrasound-guided lymph node biopsy by interventional radiology. Pathology revealed an aggressive double expressor diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma. A pet scan revealed lymphatic involvement on both sides of the diaphragm. The patient was counseled on treatment options including chemotherapy and after discussion palliative radiation was pursued.  Ultimately, the patient transitioned to hospice care.

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References:

  1. Cohen O, Yehuda M, Adi M, Lahav Y, Halperin D. Spontaneous neck hematoma in a patient with fibromuscular dysplasia: a case report and a review of the literature. Case Rep Otolaryngol. 2013;2013:352830. PMID: 24191215.
  2. Zammit M, Siau R, Panarese A. Importance of serum calcium in spontaneous neck haematoma. BMJ Case Rep. 2020 Sep 6;13(9):e237267. PMID: 32895253.
  3. Haynes J, Arnold KR, Aguirre-Oskins C, Chandra S. Evaluation of neck masses in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2015 May 15;91(10):698-706. PMID: 25978199.
By |2021-05-24T08:27:03-07:00Jun 4, 2021|Diagnose on Sight, Heme-Oncology|

Purple Urine Bag Syndrome: A visual diagnosis and what it means for your patient

purple urine bag syndrome

A 78-year-old male is brought in from his nursing home for evaluation of hypotension. He has a prior history of multiple strokes and is bed bound. He arrives febrile, tachycardic, and hypotensive. On your physical exam, you notice that he has an indwelling foley catheter. The catheter tubing and bag have a vibrant purple color. You wonder if this unusual urine color could be caused by something insidious. Could this be related to a toxin, medication, or infection?

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By |2020-09-02T11:30:29-07:00Sep 23, 2020|Diagnose on Sight, Genitourinary|

Diagnose on Sight: Scrotal Swelling

pneumoscrotum

Case: A 58-year-old male with no past medical history presents to the emergency department for evaluation of right lower quadrant abdominal pain associated with right scrotal swelling. The patient reports that he had a colonoscopy the day before to remove a 20 mm polyp, which had been seen on an outpatient CT scan. He states that he noticed that his right scrotum appeared slightly swollen immediately away after the procedure, but since then the swelling had increased and he developed mild right lower quadrant abdominal pain. Physical examination reveals mild tenderness to the right lower quadrant and swelling of the right scrotum with palpable crepitus of the right scrotum and inguinal canal.  There is no overlying skin discoloration.  What is the most likely diagnosis?

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Diagnose on Sight: Post-traumatic Finger Pain

acute osteomyelitis Case: A 32-year-old male with a past medical history of diabetes presents with a 1 month history of finger pain after slamming his finger in a car door. 2 weeks after the initial incident he presented to the emergency department for worsening pain and received x-rays that were negative for acute fracture. Today he presents reporting pain radiating up the hand, arm, and into the shoulder, with associated chills. His labs are significant for hyperglycemia, hyponatremia, and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and c-reactive protein. His x-ray is seen here (figure 1 image courtesy of Daniel Rogan, MD). What is the diagnosis?

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Case of a Blue, Painful Finger

endocarditisA 37-year-old female presented to the emergency department for evaluation of numbness and discoloration to her left fourth finger, which had started the day before. The patient stated that she was gardening the previous day and afterward she noticed the discoloration and pain. The patient denied taking any medications. She reported recreational methamphetamine and heroin use. She denied any chest pain or difficulty breathing. She denied any history of Raynaud’s phenomenon, venous thromboembolism, or history of trauma. The patient was afebrile with normal vital signs. Physical exam revealed cyanotic discoloration to the left distal fourth finger.  Sensation was intact to light touch and strength was 5 out of 5 in the finger. The capillary refill was diminished. Radial and ulnar pulses were 2+ bilaterally. Initially, a warm pack was placed to the patient’s finger with slight improvement, but without resolution of the pain and cyanosis. What is the diagnosis?

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Diagnose on Sight: Case of a red, swollen neck

Ludwig's AnginaCase: A 78 year-old female with a past medical history of asthma and hypothyroidism presents with a three day history of sore throat and a two day history of a “lump” along the right side of her neck. The “lump” has now progressed to involve both sides of her anterior neck and is accompanied with erythema, tenderness to palpation, and swelling. In addition, the patient has developed a hoarse voice and odynophagia. The patient’s primary care physician referred her to an ENT specialist, who then referred the patient to the ED for urgent imaging due to the concern for a deep space neck infection. Triage vitals are remarkable for a heart rate of 118 beats per minute. She is otherwise normotensive and afebrile. On physical exam, slight crepitation in noted on the floor of the patient’s mouth. Of note, the patient also informs you of her penicillin allergy. Which of the following is the biggest risk factor for this particular disease process? 

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By |2016-12-22T19:19:10-08:00Aug 17, 2016|Diagnose on Sight, ENT|

Diagnose on Sight: Swollen Leg

Phlegmasia Cerulea Dolens_1 editedCase: A 58 year-old female presents with a one-day history of worsening right lower extremity pain and swelling, and an acute onset of dyspnea. Her past medical history consists of stage IV renal cell carcinoma diagnosed six months previously. Triage vitals are remarkable for a heart rate of 120 beats per minute and a blood pressure of 68/48 mmHg. What is the diagnosis?

 

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By |2016-12-22T18:13:01-08:00Jun 14, 2016|Cardiovascular, Diagnose on Sight|
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