Items in AFP with MESH term: Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Croup: An Overview - Article
ABSTRACT: Croup is a common illness responsible for up to 15 percent of emergency department visits due to respiratory disease in children in the United States. Croup symptoms usually start like an upper respiratory tract infection, with low-grade fever and coryza followed by a barking cough and various degrees of respiratory distress. In most children, the symptoms subside quickly with resolution of the cough within two days. Croup is often caused by viruses, with parainfluenza virus (types 1 to 3) as the most common. However, physicians should consider other diagnoses, including bacterial tracheitis, epiglottitis, foreign body aspiration, peritonsillar abscess, retropharyngeal abscess, and angioedema. Humidification therapy has not been proven beneficial. A single dose of dexamethasone (0.15 to 0.60 mg per kg usually given orally) is recommended in all patients with croup, including those with mild disease. Nebulized epinephrine is an accepted treatment in patients with moderate to severe croup. Most episodes of croup are mild, with only 1 to 8 percent of patients with croup requiring hospital admission and less than 3 percent of admitted patients requiring intubation.
ABSTRACT: Acute respiratory distress syndrome manifests as rapidly progressive dyspnea, tachypnea, and hypoxemia. Diagnostic criteria include acute onset, profound hypoxemia, bilateral pulmonary infiltrates, and the absence of left atrial hypertension. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is believed to occur when a pulmonary or extrapulmonary insult causes the release of inflammatory mediators, promoting neutrophil accumulation in the microcirculation of the lung. Neutrophils damage the vascular endothelium and alveolar epithelium, leading to pulmonary edema, hyaline membrane formation, decreased lung compliance, and difficult air exchange. Most cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome are associated with pneumonia or sepsis. It is estimated that 7.1 percent of all patients admitted to an intensive care unit and 16.1 percent of all patients on mechanical ventilation develop acute lung injury or acute respiratory distress syndrome. In-hospital mortality related to these conditions is between 34 and 55 percent, and most deaths are due to multiorgan failure. Acute respiratory distress syndrome often has to be differentiated from congestive heart failure, which usually has signs of fluid overload, and from pneumonia. Treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome is supportive and includes mechanical ventilation, prophylaxis for stress ulcers and venous thromboembolism, nutritional support, and treatment of the underlying injury. Low tidal volume, high positive end-expiratory pressure, and conservative fluid therapy may improve outcomes. A spontaneous breathing trial is indicated as the patient improves and the underlying illness resolves. Patients who survive acute respiratory distress syndrome are at risk of diminished functional capacity, mental illness, and decreased quality of life; ongoing care by a primary care physician is beneficial for these patients.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy, affecting approximately 3 to 6 percent of adults in the general population. Although the cause is not usually determined, it can include trauma, repetitive maneuvers, certain diseases, and pregnancy. Symptoms are related to compression of the median nerve, which results in pain, numbness, and tingling. Physical examination findings, such as hypalgesia, square wrist sign, and a classic or probable pattern on hand symptom diagram, are useful in making the diagnosis. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography can resolve diagnostic uncertainty and can be used to quantify and stratify disease severity. Treatment options are based on disease severity. Six weeks to three months of conservative treatment can be considered in patients with mild disease. Lifestyle modifications, including decreasing repetitive activity and using ergonomic devices, have been traditionally advocated, but have inconsistent evidence to support their effectiveness. Cock-up and neutral wrist splints and oral corticosteroids are considered first-line therapies, with local corticosteroid injections used for refractory symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) have been shown to be no more effective than placebo. Most conservative treatments provide short-term symptom relief, with little evidence supporting long-term benefits. Patients with moderate to severe disease should be considered for surgical evaluation. Open and endoscopic surgical approaches have similar five-year outcomes.
ABSTRACT: The common cold, or upper respiratory tract infection, is one of the leading reasons for physician visits. Generally caused by viruses, the common cold is treated symptomatically. Antibiotics are not effective in children or adults. In children, there is a potential for harm and no benefits with over-the-counter cough and cold medications; therefore, they should not be used in children younger than four years. Other commonly used medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids, oral prednisolone, and Echinacea, also are ineffective in children. Products that improve symptoms in children include vapor rub, zinc sulfate, Pelargonium sidoides (geranium) extract, and buckwheat honey. Prophylactic probiotics, zinc sulfate, nasal saline irrigation, and the herbal preparation Chizukit reduce the incidence of colds in children. For adults, antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, codeine, nasal saline irrigation, Echinacea angustifolia preparations, and steam inhalation are ineffective at relieving cold symptoms. Pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, inhaled ipratropium, and zinc (acetate or gluconate) modestly reduce the severity and duration of symptoms for adults. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal preparations, including Echinacea purpurea, improve symptoms in adults. Prophylactic use of garlic may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but has no effect on duration of symptoms. Hand hygiene reduces the spread of viruses that cause cold illnesses. Prophylactic vitamin C modestly reduces cold symptom duration in adults and children.
Atopic Dermatitis: An Overview - Article
ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is a chronic pruritic skin condition affecting approximately 17.8 million persons in the United States. It can lead to significant morbidity. A simplified version of the U.K. Working Party’s Diagnostic Criteria can help make the diagnosis. Asking about the presence and frequency of symptoms can allow physicians to grade the severity of the disease and response to treatment. Management consists of relieving symptoms and lengthening time between flare-ups. Regular, liberal use of emollients is recommended. The primary pharmacologic treatment is topical corticosteroids. Twice-daily or more frequent application has not been shown to be more effective than once-daily application. A maintenance regimen of topical corticosteroids may reduce relapse rates in patients who have recurrent moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are calcineurin inhibitors that are recommended as second-line treatment for persons with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and who are at risk of atrophy from topical corticosteroids. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a boxed warning about a possible link between these medications and skin malignancies and lymphoma, studies have not demonstrated a clear link. Topical and oral antibiotics may be used to treat secondary bacterial infections, but are not effective in preventing atopic dermatitis flare-ups. The effectiveness of alternative therapies, such as Chinese herbal preparations, homeopathy, hypnotherapy/biofeedback, and massage therapy, has not been established.
Psoriasis - Article
ABSTRACT: Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is often associated with systemic manifestations. It affects about 2 percent of U.S. adults, and can significantly impact quality of life. The etiology includes genetic and environmental factors. Diagnosis is based on the typical erythematous, scaly skin lesions, often with additional manifestations in the nails and joints. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form. Atypical forms include guttate, pustular, erythrodermic, and inverse psoriasis. Psoriasis is associated with several comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, lymphoma, and depression. Topical therapies such as corticosteroids, vitamin D analogs, and tazarotene are useful for treating mild to moderate psoriasis. More severe psoriasis may be treated with phototherapy, or may require systemic therapy. Biologic therapies, including tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, can be effective for severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, but have significant adverse effect profiles and require regular monitoring. Management of psoriasis must be individualized and may involve combinations of different medications and phototherapy.
A Persistent Facial Rash - Photo Quiz
Corticosteroids for Presumed Pneumocystis Pneumonia in Patients with HIV Infection - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
Pharmacologic Therapy for Eustachian Tube Dysfunction - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries