Sunday, February 27, 2011

Intern Report Case 3.2

Case Presentation by Dr. Jeanise Butterfield

A 58-year-old woman presents to the emergency department with severe abdominal pain, generalized weakness and subjective fever.    She is able to tell you that the pain began yesterday and has been gradually getting worse since onset but she is so weak that she only speaks in short phrases.  The pain is constant and cramping in nature, getting worse.  She has had 2-3 episodes of emesis per day and decreased appetite.   She has been feeling very warm but has not taken her temperature.   No diarrhea, last BM yesterday. 

She has a history of COPD and hypertension and was recently discharged from an outside hospital after a lengthy stay for COPD exacerbation and pneumonia which required intubation.  She was given several prescriptions to fill including inhalers and pills but could not secondary to lack of insurance and financial issues.   

PMH: COPD, HTN but noncompliant with medications
Meds:  None
Allergies: NKDA
FH: Hypertension
SH: Occasional alcohol use.  25 pack year tobacco history but quit 5 years prior. Denied illicit drug use.

PE:     Vital Signs – BP 96/64, heart rate 108, respiratory rate 24, temp 38.2°C, pulse ox 96% on RA
           HEENT: Atraumatic, normocephalic; PERRL, EOMI; dry mucus membranes                 
General – Thin female lying still in fetal position on stretcher
Skin – Diaphoretic, pale, no rashes
           Cardiovascular – Tachycardic, regular rhythm, no murmurs
Respiratory – Tachypneic, decreased breath sounds at the right base, slight expiratory wheeze bilaterally, no accessory muscle use
Abdominal – Soft, nondistended, diffusely tender to palpation, + guarding, no rebound, normal bowel sounds,
            Musculoskeletal – Full ROM in all 4 extremities, no edema, symmetric pulses bilateral UE & LE
Neuro – A&O x 3, normal speech and hearing, face is symmetric, sensation equal and intact throughout, motor is decreased in all extremities but symmetric, patient not exerting much effort                 
Pertinent Labs:
                  Sodium 128 mEq/L, potassium 5.8 mEq/L, glucose 55 mg/dL, cortisol 20 µg/dL. 


1.  Immediate management of the patient should include:
                  a. Surgical consultation
                  b. Abdominal CT
                  c. Morphine
                  d. Hydrocortisone
                  e. ACTH stimulation test

2. If an EKG was performed on this patient, which abnormality could be expected
                  a. ST elevation
                  b. Right bundle branch block
                  c. Peaked T waves
                  d. Prolonged QT interval
                  e. Prominent U waves

3. Which of the following is least likely to precipitate acute adrenal insufficiency:
                  a. Etomidate
                  b. Phenytoin
                  c. Ketoconazole
                  d. Rifampin
                  e. Nitroglycerine

Please submit your answers as a comment. Your submission will not immediately post.  Answers with a case discussion will post on Friday.  If you have any difficulty, please contact the site administrator at Thank you for participating in Receiving’s: Intern Report.

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