It is Tuesday #RadiologyRounds time! We are in a pleural state of mind here at Pulm PEEPs. This is another great case authored by rockstar-associate editor @TessLitchman
A 65-year-old man with cirrhosis presents to the ED with progressive shortness of breath:
The CXR has a right lower opacity decreasing in density that is silhouetting the right hemi-diaphragm without signs of volume loss on the right concerning for pleural effusion. There is also associated atelectasis adjacent to the effusion
What is your next step for this patient?
This patient had a bedside POCUS revealing a simple pleural effusion and abdominal ascites. He also had a CT scan performed:
Based on his imaging and history, the most likely diagnosis on the differential was a hepatic hydrothorax. Here is some more information on hepatic hydrothoraces:
A transudative effusion was confirmed on thoracentesis, and no other clear etiologies were identified The treatment of hepatic hydrothorax should always start with medical management of volume overload in cirrhosis. Pleural procedures can be used for disease that is refractory
Today the PulmPEEPs are joined by two amazing educators as we start off our Top Consult series on Pleural Disease. Join us today as we go through cases to learn a systematic approach for evaluation and management of pleural effusions.
Meet our Guests
Dr. Mira John received her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed internal medicine residency at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is currently a second-year pulmonary and critical fellow at the University of Washington.
Dr. Ylinne Lynch completed her fellowship training at the University of Washington and is currently a Clinical Instructor at the UW. She is a great medical educator and spends her clinical time on the pulmonary consult service as well as in the ICU.
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a new #RadiologyRounds?! We think it is time for a Lung-centered holiday, but until then enjoy this case.
The patient’s pneumothorax was managed conservatively with observation and temporary 100% oxygen via a non-rebreather for nitrogen washout. The consolidations and effusion were concerning, so the patient had a CT chest performed.
This week’s #RadiologyRounds and tutorial is authored by Huzaifah Salat, our newest PulmPEEPs contributor! See if you can figure out the case and check out our high-yield points at the end. Follow us on Twitter to answer live polls about the case.
This week’s #RadiologyRounds is brought to you by our newest Contributor, Matthew Tsai! Matt will be continuing to work with us to bring you great cases and images and we are thrilled to have him on the team! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for our Radiology Rounds, podcast episode releases, and more!
Dave Furfaro, Kristina Montemayor, and Ansa Razzaq are back to tackle another pulmonary case! Listen in and solve the case yourself, and we’ll share some diagnostic pearls along the way. Let us know any additional thoughts on Twitter.
The is patient is 57-year-old man with hypertension and asthma who presents with dyspnea and left-sided pleuritic chest pain for 3 weeks. He was in his usual state of health until 3 weeks prior to admission, when he developed dyspnea and sharp left-sided chest pain that worsens with deep breathing. His symptoms are accompanied by unintentional 30-pound weight loss over the past several months as well as an intermittent cough that is nonproductive.
On physical exam, he is mildly tachypneic and saturating well on room air with otherwise normal vital signs. He has decreased breath sounds at the right lung base.
Key Learning Points
**Spoilers Ahead** If you want to think through the case on your own we advise listening to the episode first before looking at the infographics below
Physical Exam Pearls
Reasons for decreased breath sounds on physical exam
1. Increased thickness of chest wall
2. Reduced airflow to part of the lung
3. Overinflation to part of the lung
4. Something between the lung and chest wall — air or fluid
Determine bradypnea and tachypnea quickly by matching your breahting rate to the patient’s respiratory rate
1. Is there a compatible presentation (imaging, physical exam)
2. Detection of non-necrotizing granulomatous inflammation in one or more tissue samples
3. Exclusion of other disease that may present similarily
Pulmonary stages of sarcoidosis:
Key to remember that patients don’t always progress through these stages. The system is useful for prognosticating and determining treatment based on the risk for disease progression.
Treatment for pulmonary sarcoidosis
Patients with stage 1, and even many with stage 2, often don’t require treatment
The first-line agent is oral glucocorticoids and the typical starting dose is prednisone 20 – 40 mg by mouth daily. The patient should be evaluated closely, and ideally, this dose can be tapered starting at about 4 – 6 weeks. Following this, the prednisone dose is tapered slowly over 6 months – 1 year while monitoring for symptom recurrence.
Second-line steroid-sparing agents are methotrexate, azathioprine, or mycophenolate. These are often used if the patient relapses, or is on more then 10mg daily for 3 months after the initial taper with intolerance of steroids