Case Study One Page

Week 6 Case Study III

Patient With Fatigue

EM is a 74-year-old male with a history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who presents in the clinic with a complaint of fatigue. EM is ambulatory with a walker and recently has had intermittent flare-ups of his rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity, with increasing pain and swelling in his affected joints. His energy has been declining over the past few months, so he thought it was a good time to come in for follow-up laboratory testing and reassessment of his medications. Most troublesome, he has fainted twice in the past 2 weeks, which resulted in falls onto his carpeted floor. He is afraid to go out into public and even more afraid to drive his car. He has also had some chest pains with exertion. He is eating and sleeping okay, although he does sleep better if his head is elevated on a few extra pillows. He lives alone and gets meals delivered by a local organization.

Past Medical History
RA for 35 years, affecting hands, feet, knees, hips, and cervical spine
Systolic hypertension
Ibuprofen, 600 mg three to four times per day as needed
Methotrexate, 7.5 mg weekly
Atenolol, 25 mg daily
Hydrocodone/acetaminophen, 5 mg/500 mg every 6 hours as needed for pain
Physical Examination
Height: 71 inches; weight: 160 lbs.; BMI: 22.3; blood pressure: 162/60; pulse: 84; respiration rate: 16; temperature: 98.6 °F
Well-developed, well-nourished elderly male in no distress; pale
Lungs: bibasilar rales
Heart: regular rate and rhythm, grade 3/6 systolic murmur, audible S3; positive carotid bruit on the left
Abdomen: no masses, nontender
Rectal: prostate 3+ enlarged, hemoccult negative brown stool
Extremities: marked ulnar deviation of MCP and IP joints in both hands
Labs and Imaging
Hemoglobin: 8.9 g/dL
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV): 80 fL
White blood cell count: 10.7 × 109/L
Platelets: 250,000/L
Reticulocyte count: 0.8%
Ferritin: 415 mcg/L
Electrocardiogram: no acute findings; some evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy
Discussion Questions
1.What is EM’s diagnosis?

2.What is the underlying pathophysiology of EM’s condition?

3.What is the best therapeutic approach to the treatment of EM’s condition?


  1. Based on the information provided, EM is likely suffering from anemia caused by chronic disease, specifically iron-deficiency anemia. Other causes of anemia such as vitamin deficiencies, blood loss, and bone marrow disease would need to be ruled out through further testing.
  2. The underlying pathophysiology of EM’s condition is likely due to the fact that his chronic rheumatoid arthritis is leading to chronic inflammation and thereby reducing the ability of his body to absorb iron from the food he eats. Additionally, his use of ibuprofen and methotrexate may also contribute to his anemia.
  3. The best therapeutic approach for EM’s anemia would involve treating the underlying cause, which in this case is his chronic rheumatoid arthritis. This may involve adjusting his medication regimen or increasing his dose of iron supplements. He may also benefit from dietary changes to increase his iron intake, such as eating iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements. In addition, it may be necessary to address his symptoms of fatigue, such as by improving his sleep quality, addressing any other medical issues, and increasing his physical activity level. If his anemia is severe, a blood transfusion may be necessary. In the case of chest pains and fainting, further evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular disease may be necessary.

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