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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Point-of-care Echocardiogram as the Key to Rapid Diagnosis of a Unique Presentation of Dyspnea: A Case Report

  • Author(s): Moore, Michael
  • Dilcher, Brian
  • Minardi, Joseph
  • Quedado, Kimberly
  • Shaver, Erica
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Introduction: Dyspnea is commonly evaluated in the emergency department (ED).The differential diagnosis is broad. Due to the large volume of dyspneic patients evaluated, emergency physicians (EP) will encounter uncommon diagnoses. Early, liberal application of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) may decrease diagnostic error and improve care for these patients.

Case Report: We report a 48-year-old male presenting to the ED with cough and progressively worsening dyspnea for 11 months after multiple healthcare visits. Using POCUS, the EP was immediately able to diagnose a severe dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) with left ventricular thrombus.

Conclusion: Given that non-ischemic DCM is one of the most common etiologies of heart failure, often presenting with respiratory symptoms, POCUS is key to rapid diagnosis and, along with modalities such as electrocardiography and chest radiograph, should be standard practice in the workup of dyspnea, regardless of age or comorbidities.

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