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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bilateral Central Retinal Vein Occlusion as a First Presentation of Multiple Myeloma: A Case Report


Introduction: Acute presentation of multiple myeloma in the emergency department (ED) is an uncommon yet life-threatening clinical entity.

Case Report: A 42-year-old male presented to the ED with severe generalized fatigue and vision changes most notable in his left eye. Bilateral central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) was diagnosed on dilated fundus exam in the ED.

Conclusion: The most common cause of CRVO in adults over age 50 is vascular disease, but in younger adults, conditions of systemic inflammation or hyperviscosity must be considered. Diagnosis of CRVO requires emergent ophthalmology consultation and further treatment with phototherapy, steroids, and potentially anti-vascular endothelial growth factor. Ultimately, patients require hematology/oncology and ongoing management of acute hyperviscosity syndrome. We present this case to increase awareness surrounding this diagnosis among emergency physicians. Multiple myeloma should be considered in young patients who present to the ED with bilateral CRVO, acute renal failure, and symptomatic anemia.

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