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|

SAEM Clinical Image Series: Sun-burnt Hands and Lips

blistering

A 44-year-old Caucasian male with a past medical history of hepatitis C presents with a complaint of pain, swelling, and skin blistering of his hands. He also notes skin sores on his nose, lower lip, and the tops of his ears. The patient claims that these have become progressively worse since starting work a month ago in outdoor construction. The patient denies the use of medications or illicit drugs and denies any medical allergies. He admits to tobacco use and daily alcohol use. The patient denies any other symptoms.

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SAEM Clinical Image Series: The Insidious Rash

rash

A 60-year-old African American female with a history of hypertension presents to the emergency department for an itchy, diffuse rash. She first noticed the lesions a few years prior, and they have progressively become larger and more inflamed. The lesions have become severely pruritic over the last couple of months. Steroid creams did not appear to improve symptoms. Currently, the lesions on her arm have become painful with yellow drainage. The patient denies nausea, vomiting, and fever.

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SAEM Clinical Image Series: Rash with Blood Pressure Cuff Inflation

Rash with blood pressure cuff inflation - petechiae

[Click for larger view]

Chief Complaint: Possible seizure, Left arm rash

History of Present Illness: A 29-year-old with a history of migraine headaches, thalassemia of unknown phenotype, and no history of hypertension or epilepsy arrived to the emergency department via ambulance after possible seizure. The patient had nausea and vomiting the morning after a night of heavy drinking. After several rounds of vomiting, she felt shaky, lightheaded and experienced paresthesia in both of her hands and feet. There was no loss of consciousness, confusion or incontinence. EMS reported hypertension and tremors with upper extremity spasms. The patient developed a left upper extremity rash distal to the blood pressure cuff after paramedics did the first blood pressure measurement.

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ALiEM Cards: Tumor Lysis Syndrome

Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) is an oncologic emergency characterized by life-threatening metabolic disturbances. Although it is most frequently associated with the treatment of hematological malignancies, its frequency may be increasing among patients with solid tumors. Emergency providers should be familiar with the presentation and treatment of these electrolyte abnormalities, which can lead to renal failure, seizures, and cardiac dysrhythmias. ALiEM Cards: Tumor Lysis Syndrome, written by Drs. Christopher Nash and Derek Monette, reviews TLS and the latest updates in its management.
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Traumatic Bleeding in Anticoagulated Patients: 5 Other Sources Beyond the Brain

anticoagulated patientsWhen a patient is started on anticoagulant therapy, the purpose is to prevent clot formation or propagation. Anticoagulants can improve morbidity and mortality by maintaining cardiac stent patency, reducing the propagation of pulmonary emboli, or preventing formation of intra-cardiac thrombi.1,2 Unfortunately even after minor trauma, these medications can cause major problems. When a patient on clopidogrel is in a motor vehicle collision (MVC) or an elderly patient on warfarin falls out of their bed, the once life-improving therapy becomes potentially life-threatening. It is important for emergency care providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for life-threatening bleeds in all patients on anticoagulation following even minor injuries. The purpose of this discussion is to look beyond the intracranial hemorrhages (ICH) and to consider 5 other sources of bleeding that can occur in anticoagulated patients.

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By |2017-06-04T15:51:12-07:00May 29, 2017|Heme-Oncology, Trauma|

Lumbar Puncture on an Anticoagulated Patient in the Emergency Department: Is it safe?

lumbar punctureThe lumbar puncture (LP) procedure is commonly performed in the Emergency Department (ED). While minor complications of LP such as post-procedure headache or back pain occur somewhat regularly, significant complications such as post-procedural spinal hematomas, are rare.1 Despite their low incidence, these spinal hematomas are associated with a significant amount of morbidity for the patient and increased medicolegal risk for the provider.

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By |2016-11-11T19:47:00-08:00Jun 27, 2016|Heme-Oncology, Medicolegal, Neurology|
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