SONOSIM SUMMARY: This case report examines how point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the emergency department may be used to identify proximal hamstring ruptures, a diagnosis that can be easily overlooked on initial presentation. Delayed diagnosis of proximal hamstring rupture often leads to a more difficult surgical repair and a higher risk of complications. This case report exemplifies how the use of POCUS for suspected hamstring ruptures in the emergency deparmtnet may expedite surgical intervention and improve patient outcomes.
Bengtzen RR, Ma OJ, Herzka A. Point-of-care ultrasound diagnosis of proximal hamstring rupture. J Emerg Med. 2018 Feb;54(2):225-228.
Acute proximal hamstring ruptures can be a diagnostic challenge in the emergency department. The revealing sign of large posterior thigh ecchymosis is typically not yet present; the physical examination is limited due to pain, radiographs can be unremarkable, and definitive testing with magnetic resonance imaging is not practical. These avulsions are often misdiagnosed as hamstring strains and treated conservatively. The diagnosis is made after failed treatment, often months after the injury. Surgical repair at that time can be technically challenging and higher risk due to tendon retraction and adhesion of the tendon stump to the sciatic nerve.
The first case illustrates an example of how delay in diagnosis can occur in both emergency medicine and outpatient primary care settings. It also shows complications and morbidity potential for patients who warrant and do not receive timely surgical repair. The second case illustrates physical examination findings obtainable during the acute setting, and the use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in facilitating an expedited diagnosis and treatment plan.
Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?
Timely diagnosis of hamstring rupture is paramount to optimize patient outcomes for this serious injury. The best results are obtained with surgical repair within 3-6 weeks of injury. POCUS evaluation can aid significantly in the timely diagnosis of this injury. If the POCUS examination raises clinical concern for a proximal hamstring rupture, this may allow for earlier diagnosis and definitive treatment of proximal hamstring rupture.
To read the article, visit the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
SonoSim Keywords: Ultrasound Education, Proximal Hamstring Rupture, Point-of-Care Ultrasonography