Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"House" and the Hassid

This episode of "House" had a Jewish theme:

Roz is a Hasidic Jew, recently converted, and even more recently married. At her wedding ceremony, she loses control of her bladder, and a large stain of bloody urine appears. She collapses and falls, breaking her leg. She is admitted to House’s team for the evaluation of her condition.

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Dr. Thirteen reports that Roz’s urine culture was negative (meaning no urinary tract infection) and there is no history of trauma or sexually transmitted diseases. A CT scan was negative for cancer and kidney stones. She reports that Roz’s sodium was low, however, and suggests that Roz may have endometriosis of the bladder. Taub counters that the low sodium may be related to Roz fasting before the wedding, while House posits that Roz may have been exposed to a toxin, carboxylic acid in particular.

House agrees to let Thirteen start Roz on treatment for the possible endometriosis (with AIs, i.e. Aromatase Inhibitors) and get a cystoscopy . Meanwhile, he sends Taub and Foreman to search Roz’s apartment where they find no carboxylic acid, but discover that prior to her conversion, she had been a heavy metal record producer. She admits to a history of heroin use, but not for some time. A hair sample is obtained, but the tests are negative. Additionally, the treatment for endometriosis has been unsuccessful and the cystoscopy clean.

Taub suggests Roz may have cryoglubulinemia (abnormal proteins in the blood that thicken with cold temperatures), but House feels she has porphyria (problems in the synthesis of hemoglobin), and her sudden conversion to Judaism suggests the mental problems commonly seen in certain types of porphyria. Roz’s husband considers this an insult, and requests a new doctor. Cuddy agrees with the cryoglobulinemia diagnosis and wants to start her on Indomethacin (a potent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the same class as Motrin).

Meanwhile, Roz has become hypoxic with her oxygen saturation dropping to 85%. This argues against both cryoglobulinemia and porphyria. She is kept on oxygen and her saturation improves. Foreman mentions Wegener’s Granulomatosis, but House now believes it to be Lupus with a hidden heart problem. He orders a stress test. Roz makes it through the test well and has no evidence of heart problems. After the test, she develops sudden leg pain and the team believes that she might have a blood clot. An MRI is obtained, which shows no clot, and an fMRI (functional MRI, which works by detecting increases in blood flow within the brain, and these are believed to represent area of brain activity) is ordered as well, ostensibly to look for subtle signs of a stroke. The fMRI shows activity in her limbic system (one of the emotion centers of the brain) when Foreman is placing an IV (a painful situation) which House believes shows that Roz has masochistic tendencies, but Thirteen discovers she was praying during the IV placement, so that might explain the limbic activity.

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As Roz stands up after the test, her blood pressure and heart rate come crashing down. When she sits or lies down, she is fine — she only has a problem when standing (orthostatic hypotension — low blood pressure when standing). She is started on fludrocortisone and ephedrine (two drugs that can be used to treat extreme cases of orthostasis). The differential now includes pheochromocytoma (a tumor that releases high levels of adrenalin and similar compounds), systemic sclerosis (better known as scleroderma, an autoimmune disease), and a heart arrhythmia. An EP study (”electrophysiology study”, which looks for abnormal rhythms in the heart) is ordered, but the results are normal. The suspicion now turns to an autonomic nerve disorder such as Riley Day Syndrome. A thermoregulatory sweat test is ordered, but instead of becoming overheated, Roz becomes hypothermic (an abnormally low temperature) and has a seizure.

Infection is now considered as a possible diagnosis, as is Addison’s Disease (a condition where the adrenal glands do not make enough steroid hormones). Roz is started on Cortisol to test for Addison’s and she starts to feel better (cortisol is a steroid hormone). As Thirteen examine her though, she notices a swollen abdomen and Roz reports that she is starting to feel dizzy. Thirteen quickly realizes that Roz has internal bleeding. Chase (apparently the only surgeon in the hospital this season) wants to perform an exploratory surgery to locate the source of bleeding, but Roz decides to delay the surgery until after she has had a chance to celebrate Shabbat with her new husband, even though it might cost her her life. The differential diagnosis now includes DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation), hydatid cyst (a tapeworm cyst), volvulus of the small intestine (a twisting of an intestinal loop), polycythemia vera (too many red blood cells in the blood), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) and even Parkinson’s Disease. During the brainstorming session with the team, House has a sudden revelation and realizes that Roz has a nephroptosis, also known as a floating kidney. Instead of being firmly secured to the underlying tissue, her right kidney is hanging loosely, just supported by a few blood vessels. This explains the blood in the urine, the internal bleeding, and the orthostatic hypotension. The strain this is putting on the right adrenal gland (located on top of the kidney) likely explains most of her other symptoms. The floating kidney was not noticed on the scans because they were all performed with her laying down and it only shows up when she is standing up. Surgery should be able to fix her problem and stop the bleeding.

Want the entire transcript? Go here.

(Kippah? tip: Ilana)

1 comment:

Suzanne Pomeranz said...

Hey - I don't want to read the entire transcript, I just want to know what happened???????????