Think twice – Diagnostic delay in a patient with acute chest pain

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Abstract

Heart involvement is the most critical and potentially lethal systemic manifestation in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA). We present a case of acute chest pain in a 58-year-old male with severe asthma, which regressed after sublingual administration of nitroglycerine. At the time of hospital admission, there were non-specific ST-changes on the ecg, coronary enzymes were increased, and the patient was concluded to have a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, and treated as such. A subacute cardiac catheterization showed no signs of significant coronary stenosis. During the next days, there was increasing pain and reduced strength in both feet. Paraclinical imaging and neurological examinations could not explain the symptoms, and physiotherapy was initiated. At the time, no connection to patient's diagnosis of severe asthma was made. The patient was seen in the respiratory outpatient clinic for a routine check-up, three weeks after the initial hospital admission. At this point, there was increasing pain in both legs and the patient had difficulty walking and experienced increasing dyspnea. Blood eosinophils were elevated (12.7 × 109/L), and an acute HRCT scan showed bilateral peribronchial infiltrates with ground glass opacification and small noduli. A diagnosis of EGPA was established, and administration of systemic glucocorticoids was initiated. A year and a half later, there is still reduced strength and sensory loss. This case illustrates that it is important to consider alternative diagnoses in patients with atypical symptoms and a low risk profile. Heart involvement is the most critical and potentially lethal systemic manifestation in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA, formerly known as Churg-Strauss syndrome), which makes a quick diagnosis and prompt initiation of correct treatment imperative.

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APA

Bang, C. L., & Porsbjerg, C. M. (2016). Think twice – Diagnostic delay in a patient with acute chest pain. Respiratory Medicine Case Reports, 19, 94–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rmcr.2016.08.004

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