Introduction: Acute abdomen is any acute abdominal condition requiring a quick response. The incidence varies according to age and disease aetiology. The abdominal discomfort associated with extra-abdominal pathophysiology and thoracic conditions could mimic acute abdomen. In this case we report a rare case of a young patient with cardiac tamponade masquerading as acute abdomen. Presentation of case: A 25-years-old African man presented to the Emergency Department with abdominal pain. An EKG was performed, which revealed sinus tachycardia, with electrical alternans and borderline reduced voltage. At the time of the admission to our unit, he had a clinical worsening and a CT scan of abdomen was performed, which demonstrated hepatomegaly, abundant pericardial effusion and thin right pleural effusion at the lung bases. An echocardiogram confirmed a circumferential pericardial effusion with initial collapse of the right ventricular free wall. It was decided to immediately transport the patient to the Cardiosurgery Unit of another hospital to undergo pericardiocentesis. Discussion: Our experience with this case underlines the important point that patients with a large pericardial effusion may present with the clinical features of acute abdomen and peritonitis. Abdominal pain was the primary symptom that prompted this patient to seek medical attention. Conclusion: Acute abdomen is any acute abdominal condition requiring a rapid, often surgical, treatment. Cardiac tamponade is a medical emergency. The differential diagnosis could be kept in mind by any emergency physician, surgeon and anaesthesiologist, because an incorrect diagnosis and therefore an incorrect treatment or a delay in pericardial evacuation can be life-threatening.

A rare case of cardiac tamponade masquerading as acute abdomen

Maffione F.;Romano L.;Di Sibio A.;Brandolin D.;Schietroma M.;Carlei F.;Giuliani A.
2020

Abstract

Introduction: Acute abdomen is any acute abdominal condition requiring a quick response. The incidence varies according to age and disease aetiology. The abdominal discomfort associated with extra-abdominal pathophysiology and thoracic conditions could mimic acute abdomen. In this case we report a rare case of a young patient with cardiac tamponade masquerading as acute abdomen. Presentation of case: A 25-years-old African man presented to the Emergency Department with abdominal pain. An EKG was performed, which revealed sinus tachycardia, with electrical alternans and borderline reduced voltage. At the time of the admission to our unit, he had a clinical worsening and a CT scan of abdomen was performed, which demonstrated hepatomegaly, abundant pericardial effusion and thin right pleural effusion at the lung bases. An echocardiogram confirmed a circumferential pericardial effusion with initial collapse of the right ventricular free wall. It was decided to immediately transport the patient to the Cardiosurgery Unit of another hospital to undergo pericardiocentesis. Discussion: Our experience with this case underlines the important point that patients with a large pericardial effusion may present with the clinical features of acute abdomen and peritonitis. Abdominal pain was the primary symptom that prompted this patient to seek medical attention. Conclusion: Acute abdomen is any acute abdominal condition requiring a rapid, often surgical, treatment. Cardiac tamponade is a medical emergency. The differential diagnosis could be kept in mind by any emergency physician, surgeon and anaesthesiologist, because an incorrect diagnosis and therefore an incorrect treatment or a delay in pericardial evacuation can be life-threatening.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11697/149770
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