Spotlight Case March 2005. The Hidden Mystery. Source and Credits. This presentation is based on the March 2005 AHRQ WebM&M Spotlight Case in Hospital Medicine See the full article at http://webmm.ahrq.gov CME credit is available through the Web site
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The Hidden Mystery
At the conclusion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:
A 45-year-old morbidly obese woman with diabetes mellitus was transferred to a tertiary care center for management of abdominal pain, vomiting, and subjective fevers. Upon transfer, the patient complained of diffuse abdominal pain. She was febrile with stable vital signs. Exam revealed a diffusely tender abdomen with chronic erythematous changes extending over her pannus.
Empiric broad-spectrum antibiotics were started. The consulting surgeon recommended abdominal imaging, but the patient was unable to fit in the CT scanner or MRI due to her obesity. She was observed, and her abdominal pain was treated with narcotics.
Source: CDC web site. Flegal KM, et al. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998;22:39-47. NIH. Obes Res. 1998;6 Suppl 2:51S-209S
Obesity* Trends Among U.S. Adults
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC.
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Six days later, the patient developed fevers, hypotension, and leukocytosis. Exam showed newly identified gangrenous pannus in the deep skin folds. She was taken to the OR for presumed necrotizing fasciitis. Surgical exploration revealed a colocutaneous fistula arising from perforated sigmoid diverticula. The patient died of multiorgan failure after a complex several-month hospital course.
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Schwilk B. Anasthesiol Intensivmed Norfallmed Schmerzther. 1995;30:99-107
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