Plain radiographs of the left hand and forearm demonstrated extensive subcutaneous emphysema. The air can be seen as lucent striations tracking along the second and third fingers as well as along the dorsum of the hand and wrist. There is also diffuse soft tissue emphysema surrounding the metacarpophalangeal joints. Lab analysis did not show any significant acute abnormalities.
A Case Report of the Rapid Evaluation of a High-Pressure Injection Injury of a Finger Leading to Positive OutcomesDOI: https://doi.org/10.21980/J8TD2X
On exam the patient was noted to have a punctate wound to the ulnar aspect of his right index finger, just proximal to the distal interphalangeal joint. The finger appeared pale and taut, with absent capillary refill. The patient displayed diminished range of motion with both extension and flexion of the joints of the finger. Sensation was absent and no doppler flow was appreciated to the distal aspects of the finger. X-ray of the hand was obtained and showed many small foreign bodies in the soft tissue and extensive radiolucent material consistent with gas or oil-based material to the palmar aspect of the index finger tracking up to the level of the metacarpal heads.
At the time of presentation to the ED, laboratory results were significant for leukocytosis to 11.8 x 109 white blood cells/L and a partial pressure of carbon dioxide of 52 mmHg on venous blood gas. Computed tomography (CT) of the soft tissue of the neck with contrast showed edematous swelling of the epiglottis and aryepiglottic fold with internal foci of gas (blue arrow) and partial effacement of the laryngopharyngeal airway and scattered cervical lymph nodes bilaterally (Figure 1). Findings were consistent with epiglottitis containing nonspecific air. Additionally, the pathognomonic “thumbprint sign” (yellow arrow) was found on lateral x-ray of the neck (Figure 2). The CT findings as shown in figure 3 illustrate lateral view of the swelling of the epiglottis, gas, and blockage of the airway.
In the image, one can see significant tracheal deviation around the right side of the mass (black arrows). This degree of deviation would make ventilation in a paralyzed patient extremely difficult, if not impossible.
The post intubation chest x-ray (CXR) showed severe rightward displacement of the trachea (purple arrow). The computed tomography angiogram (CTA) showed transection of the left common carotid artery (LCCA), extensive neck hematoma without extravasation and severe tracheal deviation to the right (blue arrow). The intravenous (IV) contrasted chest computed tomography (CT) image showed a lateral contrast projection from the aortic arch at the level of the isthmus (green and pink arrows). There were no other significant injuries reported on the CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis.
Chest X-ray revealed an inferiorly displaced right clavicle at the right sternoclavicular joint (blue arrow). A computed tomography angiogram (CTA) of the chest was therefore obtained and revealed a right posterior sternoclavicular dislocation with resultant compression of the left brachiocephalic vein (purple arrow). Even though the right clavicle is displaced, the anatomy of the brachiocephalic vein is such that it is positioned to the right of midline, placing the left brachiocephalic vein posterior to the right clavicle. The right brachiocephalic and common carotid artery were normal in appearance. The CTA also revealed a comminuted fracture of the left anterior second rib at the costochondral junction that had not been previously seen on the x-ray.
Chest X-ray demonstrated significant right-sided pneumothorax (with red outline showing border of collapsed right lung) with cardio mediastinal shift to the left (shown by blue arrows) indicative of a tension pneumothorax
The patient's chest and clavicular radiographs showed a comminuted displaced acute fracture of the right mid-clavicle (green, blue, yellow). The clavicular fracture was also visible on the chest computed tomography (CT). The remainder of his trauma workup was negative for acute findings.
Radiographs of the left elbow and wrist were obtained. Left elbow radiographs showed simple posterolateral dislocation of the olecranon (red) without fracture of the olecranon (red) or trochlea (blue). Left wrist lateral radiographs demonstrated DRUJ dislocation with dorsal displacement of the distal ulna (green) without fracture or widening of the radioulnar joint (purple). Post-reduction radiographs demonstrated appropriate alignment of the elbow with the trochlea seated in the olecranon and improved alignment of the DRUJ.
Plain radiograph of the patient's abdomen revealed a gaseous distention of the colon. This is demonstrated as noted in the abdominal x-ray as gaseous distention, most notably in the large bowel (arrows) including the rectal region (large circle). Follow up computed tomography (CT) scan affirmed severe pancolonic gaseous distention measuring up to 11.2 cm, compatible with colonic pseudo-obstruction as noted by the large red arrows. No anatomical lesion or mechanical obstruction was observed, as well as no evidence of malignancy or other acute process.