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JAMA Cardiology Clinical Challenge
December 4, 2019

New-Onset Heart Failure in a Middle-aged Man

Author Affiliations
  • 1Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 2Michigan State University, Grand Rapids
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(1):103-104. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.4520

A man in his mid-60s with a history significant for hereditary spherocytosis, polycythemia vera, hemochromatosis, hypereosinophilia, and asymptomatic paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia presented to the emergency department because of dyspnea. Over a 4-week period, he developed dyspnea with moderate levels of physical activity that were occasionally associated with brief episodes of lightheadedness. He also reported orthopnea but no paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea or leg edema. There was no chest pain, palpitations, cough, fever, or hemoptysis. He had tachypnea with a respiratory rate of 24 breaths per minute with a normal oxygen saturation, temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. A soft (I/VI) systolic murmur with a brief diastolic component was appreciated over the apex. Jugular venous distension was present; there were no pulmonary rales, abdominal distention, or leg edema. Workup results demonstrated leukocytosis (white blood cell count, 39 800/μL [to convert to ×109 L, multiply by 0.001]; 15920/μL eosinophils [44%]), with a hemoglobin level of 12.4 g/dL (to convert to grams per liter, multiply by 10) and a platelet count of 153 ×103/μL (to convert to ×109 L, multiply by 1). A basic metabolic panel yielded normal results and troponin was undetectable. His chest radiography results were suggestive of pulmonary vascular congestion. The echocardiogram results demonstrated a normal left ventricular ejection fraction with no substantial wall motion abnormalities. There was an echogenic band traversing the apical portion of the left ventricle with increased echogenicity compared with the adjacent myocardium (Video). Representative frames of the echocardiogram are shown in Figure 1.

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