Central neurogenic hyperventilation secondary to suspected metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

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Central neurogenic hyperventilation (CNH) is a neurogenic disorder rarely described within Emergency Medicine literature. CNH is a primary cause of hyperventilation, most commonly due to primary central nervous system neoplasms. Patient presentation varies based on the underlying cause, and may present with a sole chief complaint of dyspnea. We present a case of an adult male with a history of deep vein thrombosis, anticoagulated on apixaban, and extensively metastatic renal cell carcinoma who presented with a two-week history of dyspnea. Evaluation in the emergency department showed a primary respiratory alkalosis with a compensatory metabolic acidosis. Diagnostic work-up failed to reveal a cardiac, pulmonary, metabolic, or toxic cause. During the emergency department course, the patient became dysarthric and altered, at which point, computed tomography scan of the head revealed a pontine hemorrhage. The hemorrhage was stabilized with prothrombin complex concentrate, but the patient's dyspnea and mental status deteriorated throughout the course of his hospitalization. While the cause of the patient's hemorrhage was not elucidated, given the patient's widely metastatic disease, it was presumed to be secondary to metastasis. Our case highlights both a unique cause of a rare disorder of hyperventilation, and a diagnostic challenge to the emergency medicine provider. It is important to consider central causes of hyperventilation in patients with dyspnea and neurologic symptoms.




Emergency Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine Faculty, USF-LVHN SELECT Program, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Students

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