Items in AFP with MESH term: Algorithms
ABSTRACT: HAIR-AN syndrome is an acronym for an unusual multisystem disorder in women that consists of hyperandrogenism (HA), insulin resistance (IR) and acanthosis nigricans (AN). The precipitating abnormality is thought to be insulin resistance, with a secondary increase in insulin levels and subsequent overproduction of androgens in the ovaries. Long periods of hyperinsulinism and, some suspect, hyperandrogenism can result in the cutaneous manifestation of acanthosis nigricans. Patients are often concerned about the physical manifestations of this disorder, including virilization and acanthosis nigricans, and may be less aware of systemic problems. Physicians should assess women with these problems for an underlying endocrine abnormality. Although a treatment regimen for the HAIR-AN syndrome has not been established, antiandrogen therapy and weight loss are useful.
ABSTRACT: When abdominal pain is chronic and unremitting, with minimal or no relationship to eating or bowel function but often a relationship to posture (i.e., lying, sitting, standing), the abdominal wall should be suspected as the source of pain. Frequently, a localized, tender trigger point can be identified, although the pain may radiate over a diffuse area of the abdomen. If tenderness is unchanged or increased when abdominal muscles are tensed (positive Carnett's sign), the abdominal wall is the likely origin of pain. Most commonly, abdominal wall pain is related to cutaneous nerve root irritation or myofascial irritation. The pain can also result from structural conditions, such as localized endometriosis or rectus sheath hematoma, or from incisional or other abdominal wall hernias. If hernia or structural disease is excluded, injection of a local anesthetic with or without a corticosteroid into the pain trigger point can be diagnostic and therapeutic.
Evaluating the Child with Purpura - Article
ABSTRACT: Purpura is the result of hemorrhage into the skin or mucosal membrane. It may represent a relatively benign condition or herald the presence of a serious underlying disorder. Purpura may be secondary to thrombocytopenia, platelet dysfunction, coagulation factor deficiency or vascular defect. Investigation to confirm a diagnosis or to seek reassurance is important. Frequently, the diagnosis can be established on the basis of a careful history and physical examination, and a few key laboratory tests. Indicated tests include a complete blood cell count with platelet count, a peripheral blood smear, and prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin times.
ABSTRACT: A practice guideline for the management of febrile infants and children younger than three years of age sparked controversy when it was published in 1993. Surveys indicate that many office-based physicians do not agree with recommendations for venipuncture and bladder catheterization in nontoxic febrile children, and that many employ watchful waiting rather than empiric antibiotic therapy. Surveys of parents note a preference for less testing and treatment. More aggressive management may be appropriate in febrile infants younger than three months old; however, criteria have been proposed to identify infants older than one month who are at low risk for serious bacterial infection. Because of widespread vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae infection, Streptococcus pneumoniae has become the cause of most cases of bacteremia. The risk of serious bacterial infection is greater in younger children and in those with higher temperatures and white blood cell counts. Controversy persists regarding the age, temperature and white blood cell count values that serve as indications for further evaluation or empiric antibiotic therapy.
Work-Related Asthma - Article
ABSTRACT: Work-related asthma accounts for at least 10 percent of all cases of adult asthma. Work-related asthma includes work aggravation of preexisting asthma and new-onset asthma induced by occupational exposure. Occupational exposure to very high concentrations of an irritant substance can produce reactive airway dysfunction syndrome, while exposure to allergenic substances can result in allergic occupational asthma. An important step in the diagnosis of work-related asthma is recognition by the physician of the work relatedness of the illness. A thorough history can elucidate the work relation and etiology. Objective tests, including pulmonary function, nonspecific and specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness, serial peak expiratory flow rates, and skin allergies, should be performed to confirm the diagnosis of asthma and demonstrate a work correlation. Treatment for occupational asthma--use of anti-inflammatory medications such as inhaled steroids and bronchodilators--is the same as that for nonoccupational asthma. Prevention is an integral part of good medical management. In patients with work-aggravated or irritant-induced asthma, reduction of exposure to aggravating factors is essential. In patients with allergic occupational asthma, exposure should be eliminated because exposure to even minute concentrations of the offending agent can trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction.
ABSTRACT: Subclinical hyperthyroidism is an increasingly recognized entity that is defined as a normal serum free thyroxine and free triiodothyronine levels with a thyroid-stimulating hormone level suppressed below the normal range and usually undetectable. The thyroid-stimulating hormone value is typically measured in a third-generation assay capable of detecting approximately 0.01 microU per mL (0.01 mU per L). Subclinical hyperthyroidism may be a distinct clinical entity, related only in part to Graves' disease or multinodular goiter. Persons with subclinical hyperthyroidism usually do not present with the specific signs or symptoms associated with overt hyperthyroidism. A detailed clinical history should be obtained, a physical examination performed and thyroid function tests conducted as part of an assessment of patients for subclinical hyperthyroidism and to evaluate the possible deleterious effects of excess thyroid hormone on end organs (e.g., heart, bone). A reasonable treatment option for many patients is a therapeutic trial of low-dose antithyroid agents for approximately six to 12 months in an effort to induce a remission. Further research regarding the etiology, natural history, pathophysiology, and treatment of subclinical hyperthyroidism is warranted.
ABSTRACT: Elderly patients with unintentional weight loss are at higher risk for infection, depression and death. The leading causes of involuntary weight loss are depression (especially in residents of long-term care facilities), cancer (lung and gastrointestinal malignancies), cardiac disorders and benign gastrointestinal diseases. Medications that may cause nausea and vomiting, dysphagia, dysgeusia and anorexia have been implicated. Polypharmacy can cause unintended weight loss, as can psychotropic medication reduction (i.e., by unmasking problems such as anxiety). A specific cause is not identified in approximately one quarter of elderly patients with unintentional weight loss. A reasonable work-up includes tests dictated by the history and physical examination, a fecal occult blood test, a complete blood count, a chemistry panel, an ultrasensitive thyroid-stimulating hormone test and a urinalysis. Upper gastrointestinal studies have a reasonably high yield in selected patients. Management is directed at treating underlying causes and providing nutritional support. Consideration should be given to the patient's environment and interest in and ability to eat food, the amelioration of symptoms and the provision of adequate nutrition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled no appetite stimulants for the treatment of weight loss in the elderly.
Evaluation of Dysuria in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Dysuria, defined as pain, burning, or discomfort on urination, is more common in women than in men. Although urinary tract infection is the most frequent cause of dysuria, empiric treatment with antibiotics is not always appropriate. Dysuria occurs more often in younger women, probably because of their greater frequency of sexual activity. Older men are more likely to have dysuria because of an increased incidence of prostatic hyperplasia with accompanying inflammation and infection. A comprehensive history and physical examination can often reveal the cause of dysuria. Urinalysis may not be needed in healthier patients who have uncomplicated medical histories and symptoms. In most patients, however, urinalysis can help to determine the presence of infection and confirm a suspected diagnosis. Urine cultures and both urethral and vaginal smears and cultures can help to identify sites of infection and causative agents. Coliform organisms, notably Escherichia coli, are the most common pathogens in urinary tract infection. Dysuria can also be caused by noninfectious inflammation or trauma, neoplasm, calculi, hypoestrogenism, interstitial cystitis, or psychogenic disorders. Although radiography and other forms of imaging are rarely needed, these studies may identify abnormalities in the upper urinary tract when symptoms are more complex.
ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the arrhythmia most commonly encountered in family practice. Serious complications can include congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, and thromboembolism. Initial treatment is directed at controlling the ventricular rate, most often with a calcium channel blocker, a beta blocker, or digoxin. Medical or electrical cardioversion to restore sinus rhythm is the next step in patients who remain in atrial fibrillation. Heparin should be administered to hospitalized patients undergoing medical or electrical cardioversion. Anticoagulation with warfarin should be used for three weeks before elective cardioversion and continued for four weeks after cardioversion. The recommendations provided in this two-part article are consistent with guidelines published by the American Heart Association and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
ABSTRACT: From 2 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age have severe distress and dysfunction caused by premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. Current research implicates mechanisms of serotonin as relevant to etiology and treatment. Patients with mild to moderate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome may benefit from nonpharmacologic interventions such as education about the disorder, lifestyle changes, and nutritional adjustments. However, patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder and those who fail to respond to more conservative measures may also require pharmacologic management, typically beginning with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This drug class seems to reduce emotional, cognitive-behavioral, and physical symptoms, and improve psychosocial functioning. Serotoninergic antidepressants such as fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline, and clomipramine are effective when used intermittently during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Treatment strategies specific to the luteal phase may reduce cost, long-term side effects, and risk of discontinuation syndrome. Patients who do not respond to a serotoninergic antidepressant may be treated with another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Low-dose alprazolam, administered intermittently during the luteal phase, may be considered as a second-line treatment. A therapeutic trial with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or danazol may be considered when other treatments are ineffective. However, the risk of serious side effects and the cost of these medications limit their use to short periods.