Myocarditis can be difficult to diagnose in the Emergency Department (ED) due to the lack of classic symptoms and the wide variation in presentations. Poor cardiac contractility is a common finding in myocarditis and can be evaluated by bedside ultrasound. OBJECTIVE:
To demonstrate the utility of fractional shortening measurements as an estimation of left ventricular function during bedside cardiac ultrasound evaluation in the ED. CASE REPORT:
A 54-year-old man presented to the ED complaining of 3 days of chest tightness, palpitations, and dyspnea, as well as persistent abdominal pain and vomiting. An electrocardiogram (ECG) showed sinus tachycardia with presumably new ST-segment elevation and signs of an incomplete right bundle branch block. A bedside echocardiogram was performed by the emergency physician that showed poor left ventricular function by endocardial fractional shortening measurements. On further questioning, the patient revealed that for the past 2 weeks he had been regularly huffing a commercially available compressed air duster. Based on these history and examination findings, the patient was given a presumptive diagnosis of toxic myocarditis. A follow-up echocardiogram approximately 7 weeks later demonstrated resolution of the left ventricular systolic dysfunction and his ECG findings normalized. CONCLUSION:
Cardiac ultrasound findings of severely reduced global function measured by endocardial fractional shortening were seen in this patient and supported the diagnosis of myocarditis. Endocardial fractional shortening is a useful means of easily evaluating and documenting left ventricular function and can be performed at the bedside in the ED.