Items in AFP with MESH term: Algorithms

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Practical Steps to Smoking Cessation for Recovering Alcoholics - Article

ABSTRACT: Smoking rates among persons with a history of alcohol abuse are triple that of the general public. Strong evidence indicates that the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease is higher in recovering alcoholics than in peers who smoke, but do not drink alcohol. Yet these persons often receive less than optimal tobacco counseling out of fear that attempts at smoking cessation will jeopardize their sobriety. Recent research, however, does not support this belief; rather, it suggests that smoking cessation may actually enhance alcohol abstinence. A model for more effective counseling of smokers in recovery is presented, including an algorithm for assessing stages of readiness to change, with activities tailored for each stage. Specific motivational counseling techniques may be useful in encouraging recovering alcoholics to progress to the point that they are ready to change their smoking behavior.


Common Peripartum Emergencies - Article

ABSTRACT: Peripartum emergencies occur in patients with no known risk factors. When the well-being of the fetus is in question, the fetal heart rate pattern may offer etiologic clues. Repetitive late decelerations may signify uteroplacental insufficiency, and a sinusoidal pattern may indicate severe fetal distress. Repetitive variable decelerations suggesting umbilical cord compression may be relieved by amnioinfusion. Regardless of the etiology of the nonreassuring fetal heart pattern, measures to improve fetal oxygenation should be attempted while options for delivery are considered. Massive obstetric hemorrhage requires prompt action. Clinical signs, such as painless bleeding, uterine tenderness and nonreassuring fetal heart patterns, may help to differentiate causes of vaginal bleeding that may or may not require emergency cesarean delivery. The causes of postpartum hemorrhage include uterine atony, vaginal or cervical laceration, and retained placenta. The challenge of managing shoulder dystocia is to effect a rapid delivery while avoiding neonatal and maternal morbidity. The McRoberts maneuver has been shown to be the safest and most successful technique for relieving shoulder dystocia. Eclampsia responds best to magnesium sulfate, supportive care and supplemental hydralazine or labetalol as needed for severe hypertension.


Assessment of Abnormal Growth Curves - Article

ABSTRACT: An important part of well-child care is the assessment of a child's growth. While growth in the vast majority of children falls within normal percentile ranges on standard growth curves, an occasional child demonstrates worrisome deviations in weight, height or head size. A single growth percentile value at any particular point in a child's life is only of limited usefulness to the physician. More important is the child's rate of growth. Children whose growth parameters are at the extremes of the growth curve but whose growth rates are normal are likely to be healthy. Conversely, accelerated or slowed growth rates are rarely normal and warrant further evaluation. This article addresses the initial steps to be taken when evaluating children with suspected growth abnormalities, the guiding principles that apply to all growth problems, and the most common growth curve deviations and approaches to their management.


Evaluating Patients for Return to Work - Article

ABSTRACT: The family physician is often instrumental in the process of returning a patient to the workplace after injury or illness. Initially, the physician must gain an understanding of the job's demands through detailed discussions with the patient, the patient's work supervisor or the occupational medicine staff at the patient's place of employment. Other helpful sources of information include job demand analysis evaluations and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. With an adequate knowledge of job requirements and patient limitations, the physician should document specific workplace restrictions, ensuring a safe and progressive reentry to work. Occupational rehabilitation programs such as work hardening may be prescribed, if necessary. If the physician is unsure of the patient's status, a functional capacity evaluation should be considered. The family physician should also be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to the patient's "fitness" to perform the "essential tasks" of the patient's job.


Urinary Tract Infections in Children: Why They Occur and How to Prevent Them - Article

ABSTRACT: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) usually occur as a consequence of colonization of the periurethral area by a virulent organism that subsequently gains access to the bladder. During the first few months of life, uncircumcised male infants are at increased risk for UTIs, but thereafter UTIs predominate in females. An important risk factor for UTIs in girls is antibiotic therapy, which disrupts the normal periurethral flora and fosters the growth of uropathogenic bacteria. Another risk factor is voiding dysfunction. Currently, the most effective intervention for preventing recurrent UTIs in children is the identification and treatment of voiding dysfunction. Imaging evaluation of the urinary tract following a UTI should be individualized, based on the child's clinical presentation and on clinical judgment. Both bladder and upper urinary tract imaging with ultrasonography and a voiding cystourethrogram should be obtained in an infant or child with acute pyelonephritis. Imaging studies may not be required, however, in older children with cystitis who respond promptly to treatment.


Gout and Hyperuricemia - Article

ABSTRACT: Gout is a condition characterized by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joints or soft tissue. The four phases of gout include asymptomatic hyperuricemia, acute gouty arthritis, intercritical gout and chronic tophaceous gout. The peak incidence occurs in patients 30 to 50 years old, and the condition is much more common in men than in women. Patients with asymptomatic hyperuricemia do not require treatment, but efforts should be made to lower their urate levels by encouraging them to make changes in diet or lifestyle. Acute gout most commonly affects the first metatarsal joint of the foot, but other joints are also commonly involved. Definitive diagnosis requires joint aspiration with demonstration of birefringent crystals in the synovial fluid under a polarized light microscope. Treatment includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, corticosteroids and analgesics. In patients without complications, NSAID therapy is preferred.


Drugs for Conversion of Atrial Fibrillation - Article

ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in patients visiting a primary care practice. Although many patients with atrial fibrillation experience relief of symptoms with control of the heart rate, some patients require restoration of sinus rhythm. External direct current (DC) cardioversion is the most effective means of converting atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm. Pharmacologic cardioversion, although less effective, offers an alternative to DC cardioversion. Several advances have been made in antiarrhythmic medications, including the development of ibutilide, a class III antiarrhythmic drug indicated for acute cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. Other methods of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic cardioversion remain under development. Until the results of several large-scale randomized clinical trials are available, the decision to choose cardioversion or maintenance of sinus rhythm must be individualized, based on relief of symptoms and reduction of the morbidity and mortality associated with atrial fibrillation.


Preventing Bacterial Endocarditis: American Heart Association Guidelines - Article

ABSTRACT: The American Heart Association recently revised its guidelines for the prevention of bacterial endocarditis. These guidelines are meant to aid physicians, dentists and other health care providers, but they are not intended to define the standard of care or to serve as a substitute for clinical judgment. In the guidelines, cardiac conditions are stratified into high-, moderate- and negligible-risk categories based on the potential outcome if endocarditis develops. Procedures that may cause bacteremia and for which prophylaxis is recommended are clearly specified. In addition, an algorithm has been developed to more clearly define when prophylaxis is recommended in patients with mitral valve prolapse. For oral and dental procedures, the standard prophylactic regimen is a single dose of oral amoxicillin (2 g in adults and 50 mg per kg in children), but a follow-up dose is no longer recommended. Clindamycin and other alternatives are recommended for use in patients who are allergic to penicillin. For gastrointestinal and genitourinary procedures, the prophylactic regimens have been simplified. The new recommendations are meant to more clearly define when prophylaxis is or is not recommended, to improve compliance, to reduce cost and the incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, and to approach more uniform worldwide recommendations.


Pediatric Advanced Life Support: A Review of the AHA Recommendations - Article

ABSTRACT: The etiologies of respiratory failure, shock, cardiopulmonary arrest and dysrhythmias in children differ from those in adults. In 1988, the American Heart Association implemented the pediatric advanced life support (PALS) program. Major revisions to the program were made in 1994, with further revisions in 1997. The PALS program teaches a systematic, organized approach for the evaluation and management of acutely ill or injured children. Early identification and treatment of respiratory failure and shock in children improve survival, from a dismal 10 percent to an encouraging 85 percent. Family physicians who care for acutely ill or injured children have a tremendous opportunity to save lives through implementation of the PALS information.


Cervical Spine Radiographs in the Trauma Patient - Article

ABSTRACT: Significant cervical spine injury is very unlikely in a case of trauma if the patient has normal mental status (including no drug or alcohol use) and no neck pain, no tenderness on neck palpation, no neurologic signs or symptoms referable to the neck (such as numbness or weakness in the extremities), no other distracting injury and no history of loss of consciousness. Views required to radiographically exclude a cervical spine fracture include a posteroanterior view, a lateral view and an odontoid view. The lateral view must include all seven cervical vertebrae as well as the C7-T1 interspace, allowing visualization of the alignment of C7 and T1. The most common reason for a missed cervical spine injury is a cervical spine radiographic series that is technically inadequate. The "SCIWORA" syndrome (spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality) is common in children. Once an injury to the spinal cord is diagnosed, methylprednisolone should be administered as soon as possible in an attempt to limit neurologic injury.


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