A Middle-Aged Woman With Hematochezia, Hypotension, and Leg Cramps

Alifaiz Saiyed, Debapriya Datta
Chest 2020, 158 (1): e21-e24
A 57-year-old woman with a history of mantle cell lymphoma presented to the ED with complaints of vomiting, bleeding per rectum, and leg cramps, that started 6 h prior to her arrival. She had received chemotherapy a week prior. Her leg cramps were not associated with pain or swelling of the legs; she also denied any trauma to the legs. She did complain of mild lower abdominal pain at presentation. Review of systems was negative for fever, chills, diarrhea, chest pain, and dizziness. She denied using alcohol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The patient was tachycardic with a systolic BP (SBP) of 85 mm Hg and was administered 1-L normal saline, with improvement in her SBP to 90 mm Hg. The hematocrit level was 24%, the WBC count was 0.3 × 109 /L, and the platelet count was 6 × 109 /L in the ED. On arrival in the ICU, she was noted to have an SBP of 70 mm Hg. Resuscitation with IV fluids was initiated, followed by transfusion of packed RBCs and platelets, based on the blood counts. Despite aggressive fluid resuscitation and improvement in her hemoglobin, the patient remained persistently hypotensive. The diagnosis of underlying septic shock because of neutropenia was considered; the patient was started on vasopressors and empirical broad-spectrum antibiotics, with improvement in her BP. After this, the patient was sent to radiology for a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis with contrast to evaluate for mesenteric infarction, enteric or colonic bleeding, and the need for arterial embolization.

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