Intern Report Case 2.9


Presented by Katie Ohlendorf, MD

History and Physical

CC – Altered mental status

HPI – 88 year old white male presenting to the ED with a history of being found “down” in an apartment which was noted to be in disarray.  According to EMS, the pt was unable to provide any history at the time of presentation; however, was noted to exhibit slurred speech.  Also, he was unable to ambulate, but was reported to be moving all four extremities equally.  EMS found diltazem and synthroid in his medicine cabinet.    Landlord and neighbors had not seen him in several days therefore EMS was called.

PMH, surgical history, meds, allergies, social history and family history are unknown.


Vital signs: BP150/100, HR 54 and irregular, RR 22, Temp 90 degrees F (rectal)

HEENT: Normal cephalic, atraumatic.  Pupils unequal but reactive bilaterally (L – 3mm, R – 2mm), eyes noted to move past midline bilaterally, no pallor, non-icteric, no papilledema.  TM clear bilaterally.  Oral mucosa very dry.  Gag reflex intact.   Neck has nuchal rigidity.

Pulmonary: Tachypneic with Kussmaul-type respirations.  Clear to auscultation bilaterally.

Cardiac: Irregularly irregular rhythm with a rate of 54.  No murmur, gallop, rub. Capillary refill< 4 seconds.

GI: Abdomen soft, nontender, nondistended.  No masses.  Positive midline supraumbilical scar.  Positive bowel sounds.

GU:  Negative.

Rectal: NST, prostate not enlarged.  Positive guiac.  Stool was dark in color.

Ext:  RLE externally rotated but not shortened, old scar on right hip.  No clubbing, cyanosis, or edema.  Pulses intact and symmetrical – radial, femoral, and dorsal pedis.

Neuro:            Patient is awake making incomprehensible sounds moving all 4 ext. equally.  Gag reflex is intact.  DTR’s- prolonged hyporeflexia.  No clonus.  Plantar reflexes down going bilaterally.  No obvious facial asymmetry or focal weakness noted.  Further neuro testing unable to be performed due to patient’s condition.

Lab Results and Diagnostic Studies

Sodium – 148

Potassium – 4.8

Chloride – 112

Bicarbonate – 18

BUN – 75

Creatnine – 2.3

WBC – 23.2

Hgb – 10.6

Platelets – 252

CPK – 3000

Lactate – 1.5

SDS/UDS – negative

Head CT – negative

CSF – WBC – 0, Glucose – 60, Protein – 76, RBC – 22, Gram stain negative




  1. What is the likely cause of this patients altered mental status?
    1. Graves disease
    2. Uremia
    3. Myxedema coma
    4. Psychosis
    5. Adrenal insufficiency
  2. What will the thyroid studies show in myxedema coma?
TSH level Free T4 T3
A Low High High
B Low Low High
C High Low low
D High High High
E Low Low L

3.  What drugs should be avoided in hypothyroidism because they are known to exacerbate it?

A Lithium Benzodiazepines Motrin
B Phenytoin Lithium Benzodiazepines
C Benzodiazepines Phenytoin Keflex
D Keflex Rifampin Lithium
E Rifampin Phenobarbital Motrin

4.  What is the initial ED treatment of myxedema coma?

A.  200-500 mcg T4

B.  200-500 mcg T4 plus 100 mg IV prednisone

C.  100 mg IV prednisone

D.  Supportive care

E.  BB, PTU, dexamethasone and iodine

Please submit your answers to the questions in the “leave a reply” box or click on the “comments” link.  Your submission will not immediately post.  Answers with a case discussion will post on Friday.  If you have any difficulty, please contact the site administrator at Thank you for participating in Receiving’s: Intern Report.

7 Responses

  1. 1. 3
    2. c
    3. b
    4. a

  2. 1.) C.
    2.) C.
    3.) B.
    4.) B.

  3. 3

  4. 1) C
    2) C
    3) B
    4) A

  5. 1. C
    2. C
    3. E
    4. B

  6. 1-3

  7. 1. 3(c)
    2. c
    3. b
    4. b 400-500 mcg thyroxine and (300mg hydrocortisone Qd) to protect against adrenal insuff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: