A 38 year-old man (Ethiopian refugee) with untreated HIV and past history of TB, presents to the emergency department (ED) with anterior chest pain, shortness of breath and hypotension. He was seen 3 days prior by a walk-in clinic and referred to the ED with chest pain and ECG showing pericarditis, but did not attend the ED until symptoms were severe. In the ED, patient quickly progresses to profound shock and has a PEA arrest. POCUS will show a large pericardial effusion and tamponade. Team members are to initiate CPR, manage the arrest and treat the effusion using bedside pericardiocentesis in order to obtain return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).
In this case, learners will be expected to recognize that this 58-year-old female patient with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer has tamponade physiology secondary to a malignant pericardial effusion. The patient will stabilize somewhat with a gentle fluid bolus but the learners will be expected to urgently consult cardiology or cardiac/thoracic surgery (depending on the centre) for a pericardiocentesis and/or pericardial window.