ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: The first step in the evaluation of patients with pleural effusion is to determine whether the effusion is a transudate or an exudate. An exudative effusion is diagnosed if the patient meets Light's criteria. The serum to pleural fluid protein or albumin gradients may help better categorize the occasional transudate misidentified as an exudate by these criteria. If the patient has a transudative effusion, therapy should be directed toward the underlying heart failure or cirrhosis. If the patient has an exudative effusion, attempts should be made to define the etiology. Pneumonia, cancer, tuberculosis, and pulmonary embolism account for most exudative effusions. Many pleural fluid tests are useful in the differential diagnosis of exudative effusions. Other tests helpful for diagnosis include helical computed tomography and thoracoscopy.
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.
Celiac Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: As many as one in every 100 to 200 persons in the United States has celiac disease, a condition resulting from an inappropriate immune response to the dietary protein gluten. The manifestations of celiac disease range from no symptoms to overt malabsorption with involvement of multiple organ systems and an increased risk of some malignancies. When celiac disease is suspected, initial testing for serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies is useful because it offers adequate sensitivity and specificity at a reasonable cost. A positive IgA tTG result should prompt small bowel biopsy with at least four tissue samples to confirm the diagnosis. However, 3 percent of patients with celiac disease have IgA deficiency. Therefore, if the serum IgA tTG result is negative but clinical suspicion for the disease is high, a serum total IgA level may be considered. Screening of asymptomatic patients is not recommended. The basis of treatment for celiac disease is adherence to a gluten-free diet, which may eliminate symptoms within a few months. Patients should also be evaluated for osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, and deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin B12, fat-soluble vitamins, and iron, and treated appropriately. Serum IgA tTG levels typically decrease as patients maintain a gluten-free diet.
Treatment of Menorrhagia - Article
ABSTRACT: Menorrhagia is defined as excessive uterine bleeding occurring at regular intervals or prolonged uterine bleeding lasting more than seven days. The classic definition of menorrhagia (i.e., greater than 80 mL of blood loss per cycle) is rarely used clinically. Women describe the loss or reduction of daily activities as more important than the actual volume of bleeding. Routine testing of all women with menorrhagia for inherited coagulation disorders is unnecessary. Saline infusion sonohysteroscopy detects intracavitary abnormalities such as endometrial polyps or uterine leiomyoma and is less expensive and invasive than hysteroscopy. Endometrial biopsy is effective for diagnosing precancerous lesions and adenocarcinoma but not for intracavitary lesions. Except for continuous progestin, medical therapies are limited. The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device is an effective therapy for women who want to preserve fertility and avoid surgery. Surgical therapies include endometrial ablation methods that preserve the uterus; and hysterectomy, which results in high satisfaction rates but with potential surgical morbidity. Overall, hysterectomy and endometrial ablation result in the greatest satisfaction rates if future childbearing is not desired. Treatment of menorrhagia results in substantial improvement in quality of life.
ABSTRACT: Mastocytosis is characterized by an excessive number of apparently normal mast cells in the skin and, occasionally, in other organs. Characteristic skin lesions, called urticaria pigmentosa, are present in most patients, but clinical presentation can vary from a pruritic rash to unexplained collapse and sudden death. These lesions are typically tan to red-brown macules that appear on the trunk and spread symmetrically. Patients with mastocytosis often have a long history of chronic and acute symptoms that were unrecognized as mastocytosis. Skin lesions may or may not accompany systemic mastocytosis. Systemic disease may involve the gastrointestinal tract, the bone marrow or other organs. Even when the disease is considered as a possibility by the physician, the diagnosis can be difficult because of special technical requirements necessary for biopsy and because of the problems with biochemical testing. Drug therapy is initiated to stabilize mast cell membranes, to reduce the severity of the attacks and to block the action of inflammatory mediators. The mainstay of therapy is histamine H1 and H2 blockers and the avoidance of triggering factors.
The Evaluation of Common Breast Problems - Article
ABSTRACT: The most common breast problems for which women consult a physician are breast pain, nipple discharge and a palpable mass. Most women with these complaints have benign breast disease. Breast pain alone is rarely a presenting symptom of cancer, and imaging studies should be reserved for use in women who fall within usual screening guidelines. A nipple discharge can be characterized as physiologic or pathologic based on the findings of the history and physical examination. A pathologic discharge is an indication for terminal duct excision. A dominant breast mass requires histologic diagnosis. A breast cyst can be diagnosed and treated by aspiration. The management of a solid mass depends on the degree of clinical suspicion and the patient's age.
ABSTRACT: The incidence of malignant melanoma has increased in recent years more than that of any other cancer in the United States. About one in 70 people will develop melanoma during their lifetime. Family physicians should be aware that a patient with a changing mole, an atypical mole or multiple nevi is at considerable risk for developing melanoma. Any mole that is suggestive of melanoma requires an excisional biopsy, primarily because prognosis and treatment are based on tumor thickness. Staging is based on tumor thickness (Breslow's measurement) and histologic level of invasion (Clark level). The current recommendations for excisional removal of confirmed melanomas include 1-cm margins for lesions measuring 1.0 mm or less in thickness and 2-cm margins for lesions from 1.0 mm to 4.0 mm in thickness or Clark's level IV of any thickness. No evidence currently shows that wider margins improve survival in patients with lesions more than 4.0 mm thick. Clinically positive nodes are typically managed by completely removing lymph nodes in the area. Elective lymph node dissection is recommended only for patients who are younger than 60 years with lesions between 1.5 mm and 4.0 mm in thickness. In the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Trial, interferon alfa-2b was shown to improve disease-free and overall survival, but in many other trials it has not been shown to be effective at prolonging overall survival. Vaccine therapy is currently being used to stimulate the immune system of melanoma patients with metastatic disease.
Atypical Moles - Article
ABSTRACT: Atypical moles can be distinguished visually by clinical features of size greater than 6 mm in diameter, color variegation, indistinct borders, and textured surface. All patients who have atypical moles should be counselled about sun avoidance, screening of family members, and regular skin checks at least once per year. Total body photography and dermoscopy can aid in regular skin monitoring for changes in atypical moles and the emergence of new lesions. The presence of multiple atypical moles increases the risk of melanoma. The greatest risk of melanoma is in patients who have more than 50 atypical moles and two or more family members with melanoma (familial atypical mole and melanoma syndrome). Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation. Elliptical excision is the preferred removal technique. Removing all atypical moles is neither necessary nor cost effective.
Ashy Dermatosis - Photo Quiz
Liver Biopsy and Screening for Cancer in Hepatitis C - Editorials