A 54 yo male with a recently diagnoised RLE DVT, currently on appropriate oral anticoagulation, presents with severe RLE pain. "Well this is easy...his leg hurts because of his DVT right? RIGHT????" Read on for a relatively rare complication and limb threatening complication of a common diagnosis....
Venous thromboembolism is considered one of the most preventable causes of in-hospital death. Venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) utilization for severe respiratory failure has increased in the decade following the 2009 influenza A H1N1 pandemic and the publication of the CESAR trial.1 The interaction between a patient’s blood and the ECMO circuit produces an inflammatory response that can provoke both thrombotic and bleeding complications. In a systematic review of patients with H1N1 treated with VV ECMO published in 2013, the incidence of cannula-associated deep venous thrombosis (CaDVT) was estimated to be as low as 10 percent; however, more recent data suggests the incidence of venous thrombosis after decannulation is much higher. Additionally, a significant proportion of CaDVT are distal thrombi located in the vena cava, which would be missed with a traditional ultrasound diagnostic approach after decannulation from VV ECMO.
You evaluate a patient complaining of acute onset of dyspnea with hypotension and hypoxia. You immediately consider the diagnosis of acute massive pulmonary embolism, but despite your best efforts can't get good cardiac windows on bedside ultrasound. Should you administer thrombolytics? Heparin? Send the shocky patient for a CT? Today Dr. Simpkins goes through the steps to perform 2-point compression ultrasound of the lower extremity to evaluate for DVT, an easy and rapid bedside test that may allow for indrect but more rapid diagnosis of acute, massive pulmonary embolism.