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ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic kidney disease often require surgical interventions for vascular access and for medical problems related to comorbid conditions. Perioperative morbidity and mortality rates are increased in these patients. Preoperative attention to common medical problems that occur in patients with impaired renal function can lower some surgical risks. Hyperkalemia can be temporarily improved by the intravenous administration of an insulin-dextrose combination or bicarbonate, and polystyrene binding resins or dialysis can remove excess stores of potassium. Increased bleeding related to uremic platelet dysfunction can be managed by the administration of desmopressin, cryoprecipitate, or estrogens, and by avoiding the use of medications with antiplatelet effects close to the time of surgery. Transfusions of red blood cells should be reserved for use in patients with clinically significant anemia, because antibody formation may decrease the likelihood of successful renal transplantation in the future. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in patients with renal disease. Patients with chronic kidney disease may have hypertension and hypoglycemia in the perioperative period. Preoperative testing may be necessary in patients with cardiac risk factors. If future vascular access grafting is contemplated, intravenous line placement and blood draws should be avoided in a patient's nondominant arm.
ABSTRACT: Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition that results in significant morbidity and mortality. Because of the important role the kidneys play in maintaining homeostasis, chronic kidney disease can affect almost every body system. Early recognition and intervention are essential to slowing disease progression, maintaining quality of life, and improving outcomes. Family physicians have the opportunity to screen at-risk patients, identify affected patients, and ameliorate the impact of chronic kidney disease by initiating early therapy and monitoring disease progression. Aggressive blood pressure control, with a goal of 130/80 mm Hg or less, is recommended in patients with chronic kidney disease. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-II receptor antagonists are most effective because of their unique ability to decrease proteinuria. Hyperglycemia should be treated; the goal is an AIC concentration below 7 percent. In patients with dyslipidemia, statin therapy is appropriate to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Anemia should be treated, with a target hemoglobin concentration of 11 to 12 g per dL (110 to 120 g per L). Hyperparathyroid disease requires dietary phosphate restrictions, antacid use, and vitamin D supplementation; if medical therapy fails, referral for surgery is necessary. Counseling on adequate nutrition should be provided, and smoking cessation must be encouraged at each office visit.
'Common' Uncommon Anemias - Article
ABSTRACT: Of the uncommon anemias, "common" types include the anemia of renal disease, thalassemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and the anemia of chronic disease. These conditions may be suggested by the clinical presentation, laboratory test values and peripheral blood smear, or by failure of the anemia to respond to iron supplements or nutrient replacement. The principal cause of the anemia of renal disease is a decreased production of red blood cells related to a relative deficiency of erythropoietin. When treatment is required, erythropoietin is administered, often with iron supplementation. In the anemia of chronic disease, impaired iron transport decreases red blood cell production. Treatment is predominantly directed at the underlying condition. Since iron stores are usually normal, iron administration is not beneficial. Thalassemia minor results from a congenital abnormality of hemoglobin synthesis. The disorder may masquerade as mild iron deficiency anemia, but iron therapy and transfusions are often not indicated. In the myelodysplastic syndrome, blood cell components fail to mature, and the condition may progress to acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. The rate of progression depends on the subtype of myelodysplasia, but the leukemia is usually resistant to therapy.
Anemia in the Elderly - Article
ABSTRACT: Anemia should not be accepted as an inevitable consequence of aging. A cause is found in approximately 80 percent of elderly patients. The most common causes of anemia in the elderly are chronic disease and iron deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, gastrointestinal bleeding and myelodysplastic syndrome are among other causes of anemia in the elderly. Serum ferritin is the most useful test to differentiate iron deficiency anemia from anemia of chronic disease. Not all cases of vitamin B12 deficiency can be identified by low serum levels. The serum methylmalonic acid level may be useful for diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency is effectively treated with oral vitamin B12 supplementation. Folate deficiency is treated with 1 mg of folic acid daily.
Evaluation of Anemia in Children - Article
ABSTRACT: Anemia is defined as a hemoglobin level of less than the 5th percentile for age. Causes vary by age. Most children with anemia are asymptomatic, and the condition is detected on screening laboratory evaluation. Screening is recommended only for high-risk children. Anemia is classified as microcytic, normocytic, or macrocytic, based on the mean corpuscular volume. Mild microcytic anemia may be treated presumptively with oral iron therapy in children six to 36 months of age who have risk factors for iron deficiency anemia. If the anemia is severe or is unresponsive to iron therapy, the patient should be evaluated for gastrointestinal blood loss. Other tests used in the evaluation of microcytic anemia include serum iron studies, lead levels, and hemoglobin electrophoresis. Normocytic anemia may be caused by chronic disease, hemolysis, or bone marrow disorders. Workup of normocytic anemia is based on bone marrow function as determined by the reticulocyte count. If the reticulocyte count is elevated, the patient should be evaluated for blood loss or hemolysis. A low reticulocyte count suggests aplasia or a bone marrow disorder. Common tests used in the evaluation of macrocytic anemias include vitamin B12 and folate levels, and thyroid function testing. A peripheral smear can provide additional information in patients with anemia of any morphology.
Anemia in Older Persons - Article
ABSTRACT: Anemia in older persons is commonly overlooked despite mounting evidence that low hemoglobin levels are a significant marker of physiologic decline. Using the World Health Organization definition of anemia (hemoglobin level less than 13 g per dL [130 g per L] in men and less than 12 g per dL [120 g per L] in women), more than 10 percent of persons older than 65 years are anemic. The prevalence increases with age, approaching 50 percent in chronically ill patients living in nursing homes. There is increasing evidence that even mild anemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Anemia warrants evaluation in all older persons, except those at the end of life or who decline interventions. About one third of persons have anemia secondary to a nutritional deficiency, one third have anemia caused by chronic inflammation or chronic kidney disease, and one third have unexplained anemia. Nutritional anemia is effectively treated with vitamin or iron replacement. Iron deficiency anemia often is caused by gastrointestinal bleeding and requires further investigation in most patients. Anemia of chronic inflammation or chronic kidney disease may respond to treatment of the underlying disease and selective use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents. The treatment of unexplained anemia is difficult, and there is little evidence that treatment decreases morbidity and mortality, or improves quality of life. Occasionally, anemia may be caused by less common but potentially treatable conditions, such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, malignancy, or myelodysplastic syndrome.
Anemia and Mucocutaneous Telangiectasias - Photo Quiz