Items in AFP with MESH term: Algorithms
ABSTRACT: Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are treated with oxygen (in hypoxemic patients), inhaled beta2 agonists, inhaled anticholinergics, antibiotics and systemic corticosteroids. Methylxanthine therapy may be considered in patients who do not respond to other bronchodilators. Antibiotic therapy is directed at the most common pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis. Mild to moderate exacerbations of COPD are usually treated with older broad-spectrum antibiotics such as doxycycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium. Treatment with augmented penicillins, fluoroquinolones, third-generation cephalosporins or aminoglycosides may be considered in patients with more severe exacerbations. The management of chronic stable COPD always includes smoking cessation and oxygen therapy. Inhaled beta2 agonists, inhaled anticholinergics and systemic corticosteroids provide short-term benefits in patients with chronic stable disease. Inhaled corticosteroids decrease airway reactivity and reduce the use of health care services for management of respiratory symptoms. Preventing acute exacerbations helps to reduce long-term complications. Long-term oxygen therapy, regular monitoring of pulmonary function and referral for pulmonary rehabilitation are often indicated. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines should be given. Patients who do not respond to standard therapies may benefit from surgery.
Thyroid Nodules - Article
ABSTRACT: Palpable thyroid nodules occur in 4 to 7 percent of the population, but nodules found incidentally on ultrasonography suggest a prevalence of 19 to 67 percent. The majority of thyroid nodules are asymptomatic. Because about 5 percent of all palpable nodules are found to be malignant, the main objective of evaluating thyroid nodules is to exclude malignancy. Laboratory evaluation, including a thyroid-stimulating hormone test, can help differentiate a thyrotoxic nodule from an euthyroid nodule. In euthyroid patients with a nodule, fine-needle aspiration should be performed, and radionuclide scanning should be reserved for patients with indeterminate cytology or thyrotoxicosis. Insufficient specimens from fine-needle aspiration decrease when ultrasound guidance is used. Surgery is the primary treatment for malignant lesions, and the extent of surgery depends on the extent and type of disease. Ablation by postoperative radioactive iodine is done for high-risk patients--identified as those with metastatic or residual disease. While suppressive therapy with thyroxine is frequently used postoperatively for malignant lesions, its use for management of benign solitary thyroid nodules remains controversial.
The Adult Neck Mass - Article
ABSTRACT: Family physicians frequently encounter neck masses in adult patients. A careful medical history should be obtained, and a thorough physical examination should be performed. The patient's age and the location, size, and duration of the mass are important pieces of information. Inflammatory and infectious causes of neck masses, such as cervical adenitis and cat-scratch disease, are common in young adults. Congenital masses, such as branchial anomalies and thyroglossal duct cysts, must be considered in the differential diagnosis. Neoplasms (benign and malignant) are more likely to be present in older adults. Fine-needle aspiration and biopsy and contrast-enhanced computed tomographic scanning are the best techniques for evaluating these masses. An otolaryngology consultation for endoscopy and possible excisional biopsy should be obtained when a neck mass persists beyond four to six weeks after a single course of a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
ABSTRACT: Hirsutism is a common disorder, often resulting from conditions that are not life-threatening. It may signal more serious clinical pathology, and clinical evaluation should differentiate benign causes from tumors or other conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, late-onset adrenal hyperplasia, and Cushing's syndrome. Laboratory testing should be based on the patient's history and physical findings, but screening for levels of serum testosterone and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone is sufficient in most cases. Women with irregular menses and hirsutism should be screened for thyroid dysfunction and prolactin disorders. Pharmacologic and/or nonpharmacologic treatments may be used. Advances in laser hair removal methods and topical hair growth retardants offer new options. The use of insulin-sensitizing agents may be useful in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
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.
Hyperbilirubinemia in the Term Newborn - Article
ABSTRACT: Hyperbilirubinemia is one of the most common problems encountered in term newborns. Historically, management guidelines were derived from studies on bilirubin toxicity in infants with hemolytic disease. More recent recommendations support the use of less intensive therapy in healthy term newborns with jaundice. Phototherapy should be instituted when the total serum bilirubin level is at or above 15 mg per dL (257 micromol per L) in infants 25 to 48 hours old, 18 mg per dL (308 micromol per L) in infants 49 to 72 hours old, and 20 mg per dL (342 micromol per L) in infants older than 72 hours. Few term newborns with hyperbilirubinemia have serious underlying pathology. Jaundice is considered pathologic if it presents within the first 24 hours after birth, the total serum bilirubin level rises by more than 5 mg per dL (86 micromol per L) per day or is higher than 17 mg per dL (290 micromol per L), or an infant has signs and symptoms suggestive of serious illness. The management goals are to exclude pathologic causes of hyperbilirubinemia and initiate treatment to prevent bilirubin neurotoxicity.
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.
Pharyngitis - Article
ABSTRACT: Sore throat is one of the most common reasons for visits to family physicians. While most patients with sore throat have an infectious cause (pharyngitis), fewer than 20 percent have a clear indication for antibiotic therapy (i.e., group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection). Useful, well-validated clinical decision rules are available to help family physicians care for patients who present with pharyngitis. Because of recent improvements in rapid streptococcal antigen tests, throat culture can be reserved for patients whose symptoms do not improve over time or who do not respond to antibiotics.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are common diseases in the United States. Patients with diabetes have a much higher rate of hypertension than would be expected in the general population. Regardless of the antihypertensive agent used, a reduction in blood pressure helps to prevent diabetic complications. Barring contraindications, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are considered first-line therapy in patients with diabetes and hypertension because of their well-established renal protective effects. Calcium channel blockers, low-dose diuretics, beta blockers, and alpha blockers have also been studied in this group. Most diabetic patients with hypertension require combination therapy to achieve optimal blood pressure goals.