Article, Emergency Medicine

Ruptured celiac artery aneurysm mimicking Boerhaave syndrome

Case Report

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

American Journal of Emergency Medicine

journal homepage: locate/ ajem

Ruptured celiac artery aneurysm mimicking Boerhaave syndrome

Abstract

Ruptured celiac artery aneurysm is a rare cause for epigastric pain and is usually detected incidentally. Atypical presentation with postemetic epigastralgia and pleural effusion usually leads physicians to make the diagnosis of Boerhaave syndrome. Herein, we report a 32- year-old woman who was diagnosed with Boerhaave syndrome initially after presenting with acute postemetic epigastralgia and predominant left side pleural effusion. Diagnostic left thoracentesis yielded bloody fluid with similar amylase level to serum. The chest computed tomographic scan showed no evidence of esophageal rupture. However, a ruptured celiac artery aneurysm with retroper- itoneal hematoma extending to the posterior mediastinum and bilateral pleural space was found incidentally. Although ruptured celiac artery aneurysm is an uncommon cause for postemetic epigastralgia, acute vascular events such as the previously stated cause should be the first impression rather than Boerhaave syndrome if the patient also presents with isolated pleural effusion containing unelevated amylase.

Ruptured celiac artery aneurysm is a rare cause for epigastric pain and is usually detected incidentally. Atypical presentation with postemetic epigastralgia and pleural effusion often leads physicians to make diagnosis of Boerhaave syndrome. Herein, we report a 32- year-old woman who was diagnosed with Boerhaave syndrome initially after presenting with acute postemetic epigastralgia and predominant left side pleural effusion. However, the chest computed tomographic (CT) scan revealed a ruptured celiac artery aneurysm with Retroperitoneal hematoma extending cephalad to the posterior mediastinum and bilateral pleural space. Instead of esophageal repair, she received transcatheter coil embolization for the ruptured aneurysm and had an uneventful recovery.

A 32-year-old woman presented to our emergency department because of severe epigastric pain after vomiting several times. Her consciousness was clear, but she was quite irritable due to epigastric and central pleuritic chest pain. She also complained of dyspnea, palpitation, and dizziness. She had blood pressure of 112/78 mm Hg, pulse rate of 110 beats per minute, respiration rate of 20 times per minute, and body temperature of 37.6?C. She had no personal or family history of vascular disease. She also denied any history of trauma or infection (eg, endocarditis, tuberculosis, or syphilis). Blood tests revealed a decreased hemoglobin level of 9.7 g/dL (reference range, 12.0-16.0 g/dL) and normal amylase of 30 U/L (range, 28-100 U/L). Chest radiograph showed predominant left side pleural effusion without pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum (Fig. 1). Spontaneous esophageal rupture was considered first based on her clinical presentation. Diagnostic thor- acentesis and Chest CT scan were performed to confirm the diagnosis. However, no oral contrast leakage outside the esophagus, pneumotho- rax, or pneumomediastinum was found. What’s more, the subsequent

scan with intravenous contrast medium showed a ruptured aneurysm at the celiac trunk, with retroperitoneal hematoma extending cephalad through the aortic hiatus into posterior mediastinum (Fig. 2) and bilateral pleural space. Left thoracentesis yielded bloody fluid with an amylase of 29 U/L and a pH of 8.0. Esophageal repair was withheld due to no evidence of esophageal rupture disclosed by the CT scan and the pleural fluid analysis. Transcatheter coil embolization for the ruptured celiac artery aneurysm, followed by aortic stenting with Superior mesenteric artery chimney graft, was performed successfully. The patient had an uneventful recovery.

Spontaneous esophageal rupture or Boerhaave syndrome is a rare but life-threatening disease requiring urgent surgical management. Classical symptoms are sudden chest or epigastric pain, dysphagia, and dyspnea following severe emesis or retching. Because the left distal third of the esophagus is most vulnerable, pleural effusion predominantly on the left side is the most common finding on chest radiograph or CT scan [1]. On the other hand, isolated pleural effusion without other Pathologic findings like pneumothorax or pneumo- mediastinum was only observed in 25% of Boerhaave syndrome [2]. In a patient with postemetic chest or epigastric pain with pleural effusion, other diseases such as acute myocardial infarction with heart failure or Dissecting aneurysm should also be considered. Pleural fluid analysis may help to differentiate between Boerhaave syndrome and the other diseases. If the level of pleural fluid amylase is higher than the level of serum amylase, pleural effusion secondary

Fig. 1. Chest radiograph showed predominant left side pleural effusion. No pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum was found.

0735-6757/$ – see front matter (C) 2013

Fig. 2. Sagittal contrast-enhanced CT revealed a ruptured celiac artery aneurysm (arrow) with retroperitoneal hematoma extending to the posterior mediastinum (arrowhead).

to esophageal rupture is more likely because it is mixed with swallowed salivary amylase.

In our patient, acute vascular event should be considered first because the presentation of isolated pleural effusion with similar

amylase level to serum. The tentative diagnosis was further elucidated by the subsequent CT scan. The pleural effusion resulted from the celiac artery aneurysm rupturing into not only the retroperitoneal cavity but also the thoracic cavity [3]. To the best of our knowledge, only a few cases of a ruptured celiac artery aneurysm presenting with hemothorax had been reported [3,4]. However, all of them were diagnosed by autopsy after death. This case emphasizes the importance of evaluating the entire aorta and its branches if a patient presents with sudden onset epigastric pain and isolated pleural effusion. Although ruptured celiac artery aneurysm is an uncommon cause for postemetic epigastralgia, it should be considered if the patient presents simultaneously with unusual isolated pleural effusion containing unelevated amylase.

Chien-Yu Liu MD Kai-Wei Yang MD Wei-Kung Chen MD

Chen-Hsiung Huang MD

Department of Emergency Medicine, China Medical university hospital

Taichung, Taiwan School of Medicine, College of Medicine, China Medical University

Taichung, Taiwan E-mail addresses: [email protected]

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2013.05.014

References

  1. Ghanem N, Altehoefer C, Springer O, et al. radiological findings in Boerhaave’s syndrome. Emerg Radiol 2003;10:8-13.
  2. Hegenbarth R, Birkenfeld P, Beyer R. Roentgen findings in spontaneous esophageal perforation (Boerhaave syndrome). Aktuelle Radiol 1994;4:337-8.
  3. Carrel D, Cohle SD, Chapman AJ. Fatal hemothorax from mycotic celiac artery aneurysm. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 1992;13:233-7.
  4. Naiken VS, Shapiro JH, Tellem M. Celiac axis aneurysm. Report of a fatal case with rupture into the right Pleural cavity. Angiology 1962;13:138-43.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *