This report describes the case of a 45-year-old woman with a history of Behçet’s disease and complex regional pain syndrome of her legs who presented with severe pain and swelling in her left lower extremity. The patient was initially diagnosed with exacerbation of complex regional pain syndrome, which fit the symptom complex of hyperalgesia, oedema and skin temperature changes. However, after unsuccessful attempts at significant pain relief during admission, CT angiography demonstrated occlusion of the left common and external iliac arteries, a limb-threatening emergency. This case describes an example of anchoring bias, a type of cognitive bias in which there is a tendency to rely too heavily on an initial piece of information, the ‘anchor’, when making decisions. This report emphasises that clinicians should be aware of biases when making decisions and avoid anchoring bias by asking themselves if their diagnosis is influenced by any leading pieces of information.
- healthcare improvement and patient safety
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Contributors The case was managed by HK as the attending physician and by CF as the medical student subintern. HK conceived the idea for the case report. CF drafted the article, and HK provided critical revision of the article and approved the final version for publication.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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