Vomiting and Cardiac Arrest in a 10-Year-Old Girl
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Primary adrenal insufficiency is a potentially life-threatening condition that provides a diagnostic challenge because many patients have months to years of insidious symptomatology. Adrenal crisis is the extreme acute manifestation of primary adrenal insufficiency, presenting with any, or all, of severe weakness, altered mental status, hypotension, and rarely cardiorespiratory arrest. Primary adrenal insufficiency should be considered in patients with clinical features of glucocorticoid and/or mineralocorticoid deficiency. These features however, such as hyperpigmentation, may be subtle, and so a degree of suspicion is needed to make the diagnosis. In extremis, children may present with fluid and catecholamine refractory shock. The management of an adrenal crisis includes prompt delivery of stress-dose corticosteroids together with aggressive organ support and correction of metabolic and electrolyte disturbances. We report the case of a previously healthy 10-year-old child that presented to a community emergency department in pulseless arrest, in whom adrenal crisis was suspected as well as treated early, and was subsequently successfully resuscitated.