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Multiple Venous Thromboses Presenting as Mechanical Low Back Pain in an 18-Year-Old Woman

Multiple Venous Thromboses Presenting as Mechanical Low Back Pain in an 18-Year-Old Woman

The Chiro.Org Blog


SOURCE:   J Chiropr Med. 2015 (Jun);   14 (2):   83–89

Andrée-Anne Marchand, DC, Jean-Alexandre Boucher, DC,
Julie O’Shaughnessy, DC, MSc

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières,
3351 Boul. Des Forges. C.P 500, Trois-Rivières,
Québec, Canada, G9A 5H7


Objective   The purpose of this case report is to describe a patient who presented with acute musculoskeletal symptoms but was later diagnosed with multiple deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Clinical Features   An 18-year-old female presented to a chiropractic clinic with left lumbosacral pain with referral into the posterior left thigh. A provisional diagnosis was made of acute myofascial syndrome of the left piriformis and gluteus medius muscles. The patient received 3 chiropractic treatments over 1 week resulting in 80% improvement in pain intensity. Two days later, a sudden onset of severe abdominal pain caused the patient to seek urgent medical attention. A diagnostic ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis were performed and interpreted as normal. Following this, the patient reported increased pain in her left leg. Evaluation revealed edema of the left calf and decreased left lower limb sensation. A venous Doppler ultrasound was ordered.

Intervention and Outcomes   Doppler ultrasound revealed reduction of the venous flow in the femoral vein area. An additional ultrasonography evaluation revealed an extensive DVTs affecting the left femoral vein and iliac axis extending towards the vena cava. Upon follow-up with a hematologist, the potential diagnosis of May-Thurner syndrome was considered based on the absence of blood dyscrasias and sustained anatomical changes found in the left common iliac vein at its junction with the right common iliac artery. A week following discharge, she presented with chest pain and was diagnosed with venous thromboembolism. The patient was successfully treated with anticoagulation therapy and insertion of a vena cava filter.

Conclusion   Although DVTs are common in the general population, presence in low-risk individuals may be overlooked. In the presence of subtle initial clinical signs such as those described in this case report, clinicians should keep a high index of suspicion for a DVT. Rapid identification of such clinical signs in association with a lack of objective examination findings warrants further evaluation due to potentially negative outcomes.

Key indexing terms:   Venous thrombosis, Low back pain, Diagnosis, Case study

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