A 57-year-old male presented to the emergency department with a swollen mouth for three hours. He reported never having experienced this before and denied starting any new medications. The patient endorsed a feeling that his mouth was swollen and had difficulty swallowing. The edema had been increasing in size since its onset. He had been drooling for the past hour and endorsed mild pain around the area. He denied any shortness of breath, rash, nausea, vomiting, or other areas of edema. His past medical history included hypertension, diabetes, and allergies, with no known drug allergies. His family history was unknown. His medications included Metformin and Lisinopril.
A 25-year-old male who was previously healthy presents to the emergency department with a painful left posterior ear mass. The mass began as a “pimple” and has been increasing in size for the last 6 months. He has an associated headache, dizziness, and malaise. He denies fever, trauma, drainage, known insect bite, dysphagia, dyspnea, trismus, and hearing loss. He emigrated to the United States from Honduras 8 months ago. He was seen in the emergency department 4 months prior for a similar complaint, which was diagnosed as lymphadenopathy by point-of-care ultrasound.
A 26-year-old male with no past medical history presented to the emergency department for tongue bleeding for one day. Five days prior he had an elective cosmetic tongue bifurcation completed out-of-state. About two hours prior to arrival, he had been using a swish-and-spit saltwater rinse when he felt a suture break. Ever since he has had copious bleeding, reportedly filling his sink at home with blood. Additionally, he had about 250 milliliters of blood, including large clots, in a container in the emergency department. He denied using any blood thinners. There was no syncope, dizziness, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, pain of the tongue, or numbness of the tongue. He had some difficulty speaking but said it was due to needing to retrain his bifurcated tongue.
A 38-year-old African American male without a significant past medical history presented with an oral mass. He was struck on the mouth by a wrench handle about two prior. Since then he has had a growing mass originating from the gum of his left front upper teeth. He is no longer able to eat solid foods and has to use a straw for all oral intake. The patient denies fevers, chest pain, shortness of breath, and weight loss.
A 40-year-old male presented to the emergency department (ED) complaining of a sore throat for one week. The patient had presented ten days earlier following a stab wound to the anterior neck that violated the platysma. There was no vascular injury noted on the computed tomography angiography (CTA) but there was extensive soft tissue damage with emphysema extending into the retropharyngeal space. The patient underwent a flexible laryngoscopy by ENT, which showed no airway injury. He was observed in the intensive care unit for two days, then discharged. Following discharge, the patient had progressive sore throat and odynophagia, so he re-presented to the ED.
A fifty-year-old male presented to the emergency department (ED) unconscious with CPR in progress. Per EMS report, the patient was found down surrounded by emesis with no pulse or respirations. Fifteen minutes of CPR was performed prior to arrival in the ED with a King Tube in place. The King Tube was filled with emesis and increasingly difficult to bag. The King Tube was removed to attempt intubation and maximize oxygenation and ventilation.
When the Mac 4 blade was placed in the mouth, a large, pink, fleshy, and vascularized structure was seen in the mouth just anterior to where the uvula should have been located. Attempts were made to compress the mass into the tongue, separate the tongue from the mass, and sweep the mass out of the way. All attempts failed to expose the epiglottis. An attempt was made to remove the mass, but it appeared to be part of the mouth. The decision was made to proceed with a cricothyrotomy; a 6.0 tube was successfully placed, and the patient was able to be ventilated. Return of spontaneous circulation was never achieved and the patient expired in the ED.
Patients who are tracheostomy and ventilator dependent are at increased risk for complications the longer they remain in this condition. One common complication is tracheomalacia. Progressive tracheomalacia can lead to air leaks around the tracheostomy cannula balloon. Initially, this can be managed by placing a longer tracheostomy cannula deeper into the trachea, however, these are often unavailable in the emergency department . A second line strategy is to temporarily over-inflate the balloon, however, with chronic overinflation, eventually both the trachea and the neck stoma become too large, leading to an inability to maintain appropriate positive pressure (PEEP) and tidal volume necessary to ventilate the patient .