Case Study Analysis

Case Study Analysis

The purpose of this paper is to establish a list of differential diagnoses for an African-American 17-year-old patient that presents with severe chest and abdominal pain. In essence, her clinical manifestations point to various conditions that are worth analysis. With such information, it is beyond doubt that a person will demonstrate a deeper understanding of the possible conditions and enhance their critical thinking capability of an individual.

Primarily, the most likely diagnosis for this patient is sickle cell anemia. That is the case given the clinical manifestations of the patient present with at the interaction point with the physician. For instance, the patient manifests with chest and abdominal pains, fever as well as jaundiced eyes, which Bjorklund, (2011) observed as the clinical presentation of a sickle cell anemia patient. The pain may signify the vaso-occlusive crisis of sickle cell anemia whereas the fever is a sign of infection due to the aplastic crisis of this condition. Furthermore, the patient is of African-American descent, which is a risk factor for the sickle cell anemia (Buttaro, Trybulski, Polgar-Bailey, and Sandberg-Cook, 2013). Clearly, with such instances, it is beyond question that this patient is a candidate for sickle cell anemia.

Secondly, a health care professional might suggest a diagnosis of hemolytic anemia for this patient. Such is the case because the persons with hemolytic anemia have a massive breakdown of red blood cells within their body. The consequence for this kind of a breakdown is an accumulation of the heme within the bloodstream that undergoes degradation that forms bilirubin. Excess bilirubin, in turn, causes one to present with jaundice, which is evident in this patient Buttaro, Trybulski, Polgar-Bailey, and Sandberg-Cook, 2013). However, this diagnosis is not definitive given that it cannot account for the pain in its explanation.

Another possible diagnosis for this patient is the upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). That is the case given that this patient presents with chest pain, high body temperature, and increased respiratory rate. The three manifestations are characteristics of an individual with URTI. Despite the existence of these signs and symptoms pointing to URTI, the diagnosis is not the best since it fails to account for the jaundice and abdominal pain that are of significance to this patient. Evidently, this is further proof that the primary diagnosis for this patient remains to be sickle cell anemia.

Lastly, the patient’s presentation of stroke-like features after admission is no guarantee for changing the diagnosis of this patient from the sickle cell anemia to another. That is the fact because stroke features in sickle cell anemia are common. According to Copstead-Kirkhorn and Banasik, (2014) the presence of stroke features in individuals may be suggestive of vaso-occlusion of the main arteries that supply blood to the brain. Such a narrowing and total occlusion restricts blood flow to the brain resulting in the stroke-like features that are evident in this patient. As such, with this revelation, it is worth noting that presence of stroke-like characteristics is not a guarantee for changing the primary diagnosis for this patient, which was sickle cell anemia.

In closure, from this discussion, the analyzed patient has a list of differential diagnoses, namely, sickle cell anemia, hemolytic anemia and URTI. However, the more definitive diagnosis for this patient is the sickle cell anemia because of the wealth of evidence linking his condition to this diagnosis. The implication drawn from this case study is that an individual’s presentation may be indicative of different conditions that one must consider before making the final decision. In the absence of such consideration, however, many patients will end up misdiagnosed.


Bjorklund, R. (2011). Sickle cell anemia (1st ed.). New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.

Buttaro, T., Trybulski, J., Polgar-Bailey, P., & Sandberg-Cook, J. (2013). Primary care: A collaborative practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Copstead-Kirkhorn, L., & Banasik, J. L., (2014). Pathophysiology (5th ed.).