TOPIC: Signs and Symptoms of Chest Diseases
      TYPE: Medical Student/Resident Case Reports
      INTRODUCTION: Cardiorespiratory disorders usually present with acute respiratory distress; likewise, ureteral rupture usually presents as an acute abdomen [1]. We report a case of ureteral rupture presenting with acute respiratory distress leading to a delayed diagnosis.
      CASE PRESENTATION: An 82 y/o M with a history of congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic renal failure and recently diagnosed COVID -19 pneumonia, was admitted for progressive dyspnea and abdominal discomfort for 2 days. Arterial blood gas showed hypercapnic hypoxic respiratory failure. Chest computed tomographic (CT) scan without contrast showed moderate right-sided pleural effusion but pulmonary embolism (PE) could not be ruled out. He also had a left leg deep venous thrombosis with worsening renal function and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) of 139pg/ml.His symptoms were thought to be due to acute decompensated CHF, COVID-19 pneumonia and possible PE. He failed to improve with intravenous furosemide, bilevel positive airway pressure ventilation and empiric anticoagulation. Due to worsening renal function and abdominal pain, an abdominal CT was done which showed right ureteral rupture with retroperitoneal collection and multiple non-obstructing renal calculi. The patient had placement of a double J stent with prompt resolution of respiratory distress.
      DISCUSSION: There are very few case reports of ureteral rupture occurring spontaneously and causing marked dyspnea. Respiratory distress may occur if the extravasated urine leads to an urinothorax or abdominal compartment syndrome [1]. Suspicion of non-cardiorespiratory causes of acute dyspnea in patients with underlying congestive heart failure includes respiratory distress disproportionate to the size of pleural effusion, unilateral effusions or effusions of markedly disparate size, absence of pulmonary vascular congestion and cardiomegaly, worsening renal function, ascites, urinary retention or anuria, abdominal pain, failure of the effusion to respond to management of heart failure, fever or pleuritic chest pain, and low or near-normal natriuretic peptides [2,3].When there are concerns for non-cardiorespiratory causes of respiratory distress, the diagnosis can be made with thoracentesis and imaging such as abdominal ultrasound, or CT [2].
      CONCLUSIONS: This case illustrates a rare presentation of ureteral rupture causing respiratory distress and the key points that should elicit high clinical suspicion for non-cardiorespiratory causes of acute respiratory distress. When these findings are present, appropriate investigations and urgent intervention may be life-saving.
      REFERENCE #1: Choi SK, Lee S, Kim S, et al. A rare case of upper ureter rupture: ureteral perforation caused by urinary retention. Korean J Urol. 2012;53(2):131-133. doi:10.4111/kju.2012.53.2.131
      REFERENCE #2: Leonidas Laskaridis, Spyridon Kampantais, Chrysovalantis Toutziaris, Basileios Chachopoulos, Ioannis Perdikis, Anastasios Tahmatzopoulos, Georgios Dimitriadis, "Urinothorax—An Underdiagnosed Cause of Acute Dyspnea: Report of a Bilateral and of an Ipsilateral Urinothorax Case", Case Reports in Emergency Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 395653, 3 pages, 2012.
      REFERENCE #3: Porcel JM. Pleural effusions from congestive heart failure. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Dec;31(6):689-97. DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1269828. Epub 2011 Jan 6. PMID: 21213200.
      DISCLOSURES: No relevant relationships by sharmela Brijmohan, source=Web Response
      No relevant relationships by Angelica Medina-Pena, source=Web Response
      No relevant relationships by Noura Semreen, source=Web Response