ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
NSAID Prescribing Precautions - Article
ABSTRACT: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used, but have risks associated with their use, including significant upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding. Older persons, persons taking anticoagulants, and persons with a history of upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding associated with NSAIDs are at especially high risk. Although aspirin is cardioprotective, other NSAIDs can worsen congestive heart failure, can increase blood pressure, and are related to adverse cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction and ischemia. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors have been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction; however, the only cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor still available in the United States, celecoxib, seems to be safer in this regard. Hepatic damage from NSAIDs is rare, but these medications should not be used in persons with cirrhotic liver diseases because bleeding problems and renal failure are more likely. Care should be used when prescribing NSAIDs in persons taking anticoagulants and in those with platelet dysfunction, as well as immediately before surgery. Potential central nervous system effects include aseptic meningitis, psychosis, and tinnitus. Asthma may be induced or exacerbated by NSAIDs. Although most NSAIDs are likely safe in pregnancy, they should be avoided in the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy to prevent prolonged gestation from inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, premature closure of the ductus arteriosus, and maternal and fetal complications from antiplatelet activity. Ibuprofen, indomethacin, and naproxen are safe in breastfeeding women. Care should be taken to prevent accidental NSAID overdose in children by educating parents about correct dosing and storage in childproof containers.
Predicting the Risk of Bleeding in Patients Taking Warfarin - Point-of-Care Guides
ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is defined as a mean pulmonary arterial pressure greater than 25 mm Hg at rest or 30 mm Hg during physical activity. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is classified into subgroups, including idiopathic, heritable, and pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with other conditions. A detailed history, thorough physical examination, and most importantly, a high index of suspicion are essential to diagnosis. Evaluation includes echocardiography and exclusion of other causes of symptoms. Targeted laboratory testing can help identify the subgroup of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Right heart catheterization is required to confirm the diagnosis. Standard treatment options include oral anticoagulation, diuretics, oxygen supplementation, and for a small percentage of patients, calcium channel blockers. Newer treatments include prostacyclin analogues, endothelin receptor antagonists, and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. Combination therapy has been shown to improve pulmonary arterial pressure, but more research is needed. Interventional procedures for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension include balloon atrial septostomy and lung transplantation.
Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism - Article
ABSTRACT: A previous venous thromboembolism is the most important risk factor for predicting recurrence of the condition. Several studies have shown that routine testing for inherited thrombophilias is not helpful in predicting the risk of recurrence or altering treatment decisions, and therefore is not cost-effective. Updated practice guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians shift the focus away from laboratory testing and place stronger emphasis on identifying clinical factors when making treatment decisions. The major determinants for treatment duration are whether the deep venous thrombosis was located in a distal or proximal vein, whether the thrombotic episode was an initial or recurrent event, and whether transient risk factors were present. Persistent elevations on the d-dimer test or the presence of residual thrombosis may provide further information to predict recurrence risk and determine treatment duration. Screening for antiphospholipid syndrome and/or malignancy should be considered in patients presenting with arterial thrombosis, thrombosis at an unusual site, or recurrent pregnancy loss. Patients with venous thromboembolism and a known malignancy should be treated with low-molecular-weight heparin rather than oral anticoagulation as long as the cancer is active. All patients with recurrent, unprovoked venous thromboembolism should be considered for long-term treatment.
ABSTRACT: Factors associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) include increasing age, rheumatic heart disease, poor left ventricular function, previous myocardial infarction, hypertension and a past history of a thromboembolic event. Patients with AF should be considered for anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy based on the patient's age, the presence of other risk factors for stroke and the risk of complications from anticoagulation. In general, patients with risk factors for stroke should receive warfarin anticoagulation, regardless of their age. In patients who are under age 65 and have no other risk factors for stroke, either aspirin therapy or no therapy at all is recommended. Aspirin or warfarin is recommended for use in patients between 65 and 75 years of age with no other risk factors, and warfarin is recommended for use in patients without risk factors who are older than 75 years of age.
ABSTRACT: Warfarin is the oral anticoagulant most frequently used to control and prevent thromboembolic disorders. Prescribing the dose that both avoids hemorrhagic complications and achieves sufficient suppression of thrombosis requires a thorough understanding of the drug's unique pharmacology. Warfarin has a complex dose-response relationship that makes safe and effective use a challenge. For most indications, the dose is adjusted to maintain the patient's International Normalized Ratio (INR) at 2 to 3. Because of the delay in factor II (prothrombin) suppression, heparin is administered concurrently for four to five days to prevent thrombus propagation. Loading doses of warfarin are not warranted and may result in bleeding complications. Interactions with other drugs must be considered, and therapy in elderly patients requires careful management. Current dosing recommendations are reviewed, and practical guidelines for the optimal use of warfarin are provided.
ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. It impairs cardiac function and increases the risk of stroke. The incidence of atrial fibrillation increases with age. Key treatment issues include deciding when to restore normal sinus rhythm, when to control rate only, and how to prevent thromboembolism. Rate control is the preferred management option in most patients. Rhythm control is an option for patients in whom rate control cannot be achieved or who have persistent symptoms despite rate control. The current recommendation for strict rate control is a resting heart rate of less than 80 beats per minute. However, one study has shown that more lenient rate control of less than 110 beats per minute while at rest was not inferior to strict rate control in preventing cardiac death, heart failure, stroke, and life-threatening arrhythmias. Anticoagulation therapy is needed with rate control and rhythm control to prevent stroke. Warfarin is superior to aspirin and clopidogrel in preventing stroke despite its narrow therapeutic range and increased risk of bleeding. Tools that predict the risk of stroke (e.g., CHADS2) and the risk of bleeding (e.g., Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index) are helpful in making decisions about anticoagulation therapy. Surgical options for atrial fibrillation include disruption of abnormal conduction pathways in the atria, and obliteration of the left atrial appendage. Catheter ablation is an option for restoring normal sinus rhythm in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and normal left atrial size. Referral to a cardiologist is warranted in patients who have complex cardiac disease; who are symptomatic on or unable to tolerate pharmacologic rate control; or who may be candidates for ablation or surgical interventions.