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ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder that can cause significant disability and decreased quality of life. The cardinal physical signs of the disease are distal resting tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and asymmetric onset. Levodopa is the primary treatment for Parkinson's disease; however, its long-term use is limited by motor complications and drug-induced dyskinesia. Dopamine agonists are options for initial treatment and have been shown to delay the onset of motor complications. However, dopamine agonists are inferior to levodopa in controlling motor symptoms. After levodopa-related motor complications develop in advanced Parkinson's disease, it is beneficial to initiate adjuvant therapy with dopamine agonists, catechol O-methyltransferase inhibitors, or monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors. Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus has been shown to ameliorate symptoms in patients with advanced disease. Depression, dementia, and psychosis are common psychiatric problems associated with Parkinson's disease. Psychosis is usually drug induced and can be managed initially by reducing antiparkinsonian medications. The judicious use of psychoactive agents may be necessary. Consultation with a subspecialist is often required.
Late Pregnancy Bleeding - Article
ABSTRACT: Effective management of vaginal bleeding in late pregnancy requires recognition of potentially serious conditions, including placenta previa, placental abruption, and vasa previa. Placenta previa is commonly diagnosed on routine ultrasonography before 20 weeks' gestation, but in nearly 90 percent of patients it ultimately resolves. Women who have asymptomatic previa can continue normal activities, with repeat ultrasonographic evaluation at 28 weeks. Persistent previa in the third trimester mandates pelvic rest and hospitalization if significant bleeding occurs. Placental abruption is the most common cause of serious vaginal bleeding, occurring in 1 percent of pregnancies. Management of abruption may require rapid operative delivery to prevent neonatal morbidity and mortality. Vasa previa is rare but can result in fetal exsanguination with rupture of membranes. Significant vaginal bleeding from any cause is managed with rapid assessment of maternal and fetal status, fluid resuscitation, replacement of blood products when necessary, and an appropriately timed delivery.
Treatment Options for Insomnia - Article
ABSTRACT: The frequency of sleep disruption and the degree to which insomnia significantly affects daytime function determine the need for evaluation and treatment. Physicians may initiate treatment of insomnia at an initial visit; for patients with a clear acute stressor such as grief, no further evaluation may be indicated. However, if insomnia is severe or long-lasting, a thorough evaluation to uncover coexisting medical, neurologic, or psychiatric illness is warranted. Treatment should begin with nonpharmacologic therapy, addressing sleep hygiene issues and exercise. There is good evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy. Exercise improves sleep as effectively as benzodiazepines in some studies and, given its other health benefits, is recommended for patients with insomnia. Hypnotics generally should be prescribed for short periods only, with the frequency and duration of use customized to each patient's circumstances. Routine use of over-the-counter drugs containing antihistamines should be discouraged. Alcohol has the potential for abuse and should not be used as a sleep aid. Opiates are valuable in pain-associated insomnia. Benzodiazepines are most useful for short-term treatment; however, long-term use may lead to adverse effects and withdrawal phenomena. The better safety profile of the newer-generation nonbenzodiazepines (i.e., zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopidone, and ramelteon) makes them better first-line choices for long-term treatment of chronic insomnia.
ABSTRACT: Most children will have been evaluated for a febrile illness by 36 months of age. Although the majority will have a self-limited viral illness, studies done before the use of Haemophilus influenzae type b and Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccines showed that approximately 10 percent of children younger than 36 months without evident sources of fever had occult bacteremia and serious bacterial infection. More recent studies have found lower rates of bacterial infection (1.6 to 1.8 percent). Any infant younger than 29 days and any child that appears toxic should undergo a complete sepsis work-up. However, nontoxic-appearing children one to 36 months of age, who have a fever with no apparent source and who have received the appropriate vaccinations, could undergo screening laboratory analysis and be sent home with close follow-up. Empiric intramuscular antibiotics are suggested for some children; however, cerebrospinal fluid studies should be obtained first. Because immunizations have recently decreased infection rates for S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae type b, the recommendations for evaluation and treatment of febrile children are evolving and could involve fewer tests and less-presumptive treatment in the future. A cautious approach should still be taken based on the potential for adverse consequences of unrecognized and untreated serious bacterial infection.
Respiratory Distress in the Newborn - Article
ABSTRACT: The most common etiology of neonatal respiratory distress is transient tachypnea of the newborn; this is triggered by excessive lung fluid, and symptoms usually resolve spontaneously. Respiratory distress syndrome can occur in premature infants as a result of surfactant deficiency and underdeveloped lung anatomy. Intervention with oxygenation, ventilation, and surfactant replacement is often necessary. Prenatal administration of corticosteroids between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation reduces the risk of respiratory distress syndrome of the newborn when the risk of preterm delivery is high. Meconium aspiration syndrome is thought to occur in utero as a result of fetal distress by hypoxia. The incidence is not reduced by use of amnio-infusion before delivery nor by suctioning of the infant during delivery. Treatment options are resuscitation, oxygenation, surfactant replacement, and ventilation. Other etiologies of respiratory distress include pneumonia, sepsis, pneumothorax, persistent pulmonary hypertension, and congenital malformations; treatment is disease specific. Initial evaluation for persistent or severe respiratory distress may include complete blood count with differential, chest radiography, and pulse oximetry.
Evaluation of Nausea and Vomiting - Article
ABSTRACT: A comprehensive history and physical examination can often reveal the cause of nausea and vomiting, making further evaluation unnecessary. Acute symptoms generally are the result of infectious, inflammatory, or iatrogenic causes. Most infections are self-limiting and require minimal intervention; iatrogenic causes can be resolved by removing the offending agent. Chronic symptoms are usually a pathologic response to any of a variety of conditions. Gastrointestinal etiologies include obstruction, functional disorders, and organic diseases. Central nervous system etiologies are primarily related to conditions that increase intracranial pressure, and typically cause other neurologic signs. Pregnancy is the most common endocrinologic cause of nausea and must be considered in any woman of childbearing age. Numerous metabolic abnormalities and psychiatric diagnoses also may cause nausea and vomiting. Evaluation should first focus on detecting any emergencies or complications that require hospitalization. Attention should then turn to identifying the underlying cause and providing specific therapies. When the cause cannot be determined, empiric therapy with an antiemetic is appropriate. Initial diagnostic testing should generally be limited to basic laboratory tests and plain radiography. Further testing, such as upper endoscopy or computed tomography of the abdomen, should be determined by clinical suspicion based on a complete history and physical examination.
Peptic Ulcer Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: Peptic ulcer disease usually occurs in the stomach and proximal duodenum. The predominant causes in the United States are infection with Helicobacter pylori and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Symptoms of peptic ulcer disease include epigastric discomfort (specifically, pain relieved by food intake or antacids and pain that causes awakening at night or that occurs between meals), loss of appetite, and weight loss. Older patients and patients with alarm symptoms indicating a complication or malignancy should have prompt endoscopy. Patients taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should discontinue their use. For younger patients with no alarm symptoms, a test-and-treat strategy based on the results of H. pylori testing is recommended. If H. pylori infection is diagnosed, the infection should be eradicated and antisecretory therapy (preferably with a proton pump inhibitor) given for four weeks. Patients with persistent symptoms should be referred for endoscopy. Surgery is indicated if complications develop or if the ulcer is unresponsive to medications. Bleeding is the most common indication for surgery. Administration of proton pump inhibitors and endoscopic therapy control most bleeds. Perforation and gastric outlet obstruction are rare but serious complications. Peritonitis is a surgical emergency requiring patient resuscitation; laparotomy and peritoneal toilet; omental patch placement; and, in selected patients, surgery for ulcer control.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Otitis Media - Article
ABSTRACT: Diagnostic criteria for acute otitis media include rapid onset of symptoms, middle ear effusion, and signs and symptoms of middle ear inflammation. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are the most common bacterial isolates from the middle ear fluid of children with acute otitis media. Fever, otalgia, headache, irritability, cough, rhinitis, listlessness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and pulling at the ears are common, but nonspecific symptoms. Detection of middle ear effusion by pneumatic otoscopy is key in establishing the diagnosis. Observation is an acceptable option in healthy children with mild symptoms. Antibiotics are recommended in all children younger than six months, in those between six months and two years if the diagnosis is certain, and in children with severe infection. High-dosage amoxicillin (80 to 90 mg per kg per day) is recommended as first-line therapy. Macrolide antibiotics, clindamycin, and cephalosporins are alternatives in penicillin-sensitive children and in those with resistant infections. Patients who do not respond to treatment should be reassessed. Hearing and language testing is recommended in children with suspected hearing loss or persistent effusion for at least three months, and in those with developmental problems.
ABSTRACT: Back pain is fairly prevalent in healthy children and adolescents. When children or adolescents seek medical care for back pain, it is highly likely that underlying pathology will be identified. Common causes of back pain include nonspecific pain or muscle strain, herniated disk, spondylolysis, scoliosis, and Scheuermann's kyphosis. Less common causes include tumor, infection, and sickle cell crisis. If nonspecific back pain is suspected, treatment may include home-based exercise, physical therapy, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If the history and physical examination suggest underlying pathology, radiography, complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and a C-reactive protein measurement should be performed. Follow-up magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, or bone scanning may be needed depending on the suspected cause. It is generally accepted that the following factors warrant immediate evaluation: patient age younger than four years, persistent symptoms, self-imposed activity limitations, systemic symptoms, increasing discomfort, persistent night-time pain, and neurologic symptoms.
Venous Thromboembolism During Pregnancy - Article
ABSTRACT: Venous thromboembolism is the leading cause of maternal death in the United States. Pregnancy is a risk factor for deep venous thrombosis, and risk is further increased with a personal or family history of thrombosis or thrombophilia. Screening for thrombophilia is not recommended for the general population; however, testing for inherited or acquired thrombophilic conditions is recommended when personal or family history suggests increased risk. Factor V Leiden and prothrombin G20210A mutation are the most common inherited thrombophilias, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is the most important acquired defect. Clinical symptoms of deep venous thrombosis may be subtle and difficult to distinguish from gestational edema. Venous compression (Doppler) ultrasonography is the diagnostic test of choice. Pulmonary embolism typically presents postpartum with dyspnea and tachypnea. Multidetector-row (spiral) computed tomography is the test of choice for pulmonary embolism. Warfarin is contraindicated during pregnancy, but is safe to use postpartum and is compatible with breastfeeding. Low-molecular-weight heparin has largely replaced unfractionated heparin for prophylaxis and treatment in pregnancy.