Items in AFP with MESH term: Algorithms
Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a common condition associated with metabolic syndrome. It is the most common cause of elevated liver enzymes in U.S. adults, and is diagnosed after ruling out other causes of steatosis (fatty infiltration of liver), particularly infectious hepatitis and alcohol abuse. Liver biopsy may be considered if greater diagnostic and prognostic certainty is desired, particularly in patients with diabetes, patients who are morbidly obese, and in patients with an aspartate transaminase to alanine transaminase ratio greater than one, because these patients are at risk of having more advanced disease. Weight loss is the primary treatment for obese patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Medications used to treat insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and obesity have been shown to improve transaminase levels, steatosis, and histologic findings. However, no treatments have been shown to affect patient-oriented outcomes.
ABSTRACT: Nephrolithiasis is a common condition affecting nearly 5 percent of U.S. men and women during their lifetimes. Recurrent calculi can be prevented in most patients by the use of a simplified evaluation, reasonable dietary and fluid recommendations, and directed pharmacologic intervention. Serum studies and 24-hour urine collections are the mainstays of metabolic investigation and usually are warranted in patients with recurrent calculi. Although some stones are the result of inherited conditions, most result from a complex interaction between diet, fluid habits, and genetic predisposition. Calcium-sparing diuretics such as thiazides often are used to treat hypercalciuria. Citrate medications increase levels of this naturally occurring stone inhibitor. Allopurinol can be helpful in patients with hyperuricosuria, and urease inhibitors can help break the cycle of infectious calculi. Aggressive fluid intake and moderated intake of salt, calcium, and meat are recommended for most patients.
ABSTRACT: Digoxin therapy has long been used to treat heart failure; however, its effectiveness was not completely known until recently. Results of the Digitalis Investigation Group trial showed that adding digoxin to standard heart failure therapy had no effect on mortality. However, adding digoxin decreased hospitalizations related to heart failure and improved symptoms in patients treated for heart failure. Reanalyses of the trial's findings have raised new questions about the role of digoxin in heart failure treatment. These new analyses showed that low serum digoxin concentrations used in patients with more severe disease offered the most benefit. Digoxin use in women was associated with increased mortality risk. This finding should be interpreted with caution, however, because it was based on retrospective data, and the cause of this phenomenon has not been fully elucidated. Prospective clinical trials are needed to determine the serum digoxin concentration that is associated with the most clinical benefit and to determine the role of digoxin therapy for women. Digoxin generally does not have a role in the treatment of diastolic heart failure and is not a first-line therapy for managing atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure.
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.
Iron Deficiency Anemia - Article
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia is 2 percent in adult men, 9 to 12 percent in non-Hispanic white women, and nearly 20 percent in black and Mexican-American women. Nine percent of patients older than 65 years with iron deficiency anemia have a gastrointestinal cancer when evaluated. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends screening for iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women but not in other groups. Routine iron supplementation is recommended for high-risk infants six to 12 months of age. Iron deficiency anemia is classically described as a microcytic anemia. The differential diagnosis includes thalassemia, sideroblastic anemias, some types of anemia of chronic disease, and lead poisoning. Serum ferritin is the preferred initial diagnostic test. Total iron-binding capacity, transferrin saturation, serum iron, and serum transferrin receptor levels may be helpful if the ferritin level is between 46 and 99 ng per mL (46 and 99 mcg per L); bone marrow biopsy may be necessary in these patients for a definitive diagnosis. In children, adolescents, and women of reproductive age, a trial of iron is a reasonable approach if the review of symptoms, history, and physical examination are negative; however, the hemoglobin should be checked at one month. If there is not a 1 to 2 g per dL (10 to 20 g per L) increase in the hemoglobin level in that time, possibilities include malabsorption of oral iron, continued bleeding, or unknown lesion. For other patients, an endoscopic evaluation is recommended beginning with colonoscopy if the patient is older than 50.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.