Items in AFP with MESH term: Chronic Disease
ABSTRACT: Chronic bronchitis is a clinical diagnosis characterized by a cough productive of sputum for over three months' duration during two consecutive years and the presence of airflow obstruction. Pulmonary function testing aids in the diagnosis of chronic bronchitis by documenting the extent of reversibility of airflow obstruction. A better understanding of the role of inflammatory mediators in chronic bronchitis has led to greater emphasis on management of airway inflammation and relief of bronchospasm. Inhaled ipratropium bromide and sympathomimetic agents are the current mainstays of management. While theophylline has long been an important therapy, its use is limited by a narrow therapeutic range and interaction with other agents. Oral steroid therapy should be reserved for use in patients with demonstrated improvement in airflow not achievable with inhaled agents. Antibiotics play a role in acute exacerbations but have been shown to lead to only modest airflow improvement. Strengthening of the respiratory muscles, smoking cessation, supplemental oxygen, hydration and nutritional support also play key roles in long-term management of chronic bronchitis.
ABSTRACT: Ischemic heart disease is one of the most common disorders managed by family physicians. Stratifying patients according to risk is important early in the course of the disease to identify patients who require invasive (percutaneous or surgical) treatment. Physical examination, clinical history, noninvasive tests and angiography are all helpful in determining who will benefit most from medical therapy, percutaneous revascularization or coronary artery bypass surgery. Surgery improves morbidity and mortality in a well-defined group of patients with left ventricular dysfunction and left main coronary artery disease or triple-vessel disease. Patients with proximal left anterior descending artery disease and moderate or severe ischemia benefit from surgery as well. In all other patients, definitive treatment includes aspirin, beta-adrenergic blockers and lipid-lowering agents. Percutaneous revascularization should be considered primarily a palliative measure, because it has never been shown to improve mortality more than medical therapy.
ABSTRACT: More than one third of children complain of abdominal pain lasting two weeks or longer. The diagnostic approach to abdominal pain in children relies heavily on the history provided by the parent and child to direct a step-wise approach to investigation. If the history and physical examination suggest functional abdominal pain, constipation or peptic disease, the response to an empiric course of medical management is of greater value than multiple "exclusionary" investigations. A symptom diary allows the child to play an active role in the diagnostic process. The medical management of constipation, peptic disease and inflammatory bowel disease involves nutritional strategies, pharmacologic intervention and behavior and psychologic support.
Urinary Tract Infections in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Urinary tract infections remain a significant cause of morbidity in all age groups. Recent studies have helped to better define the population groups at risk for these infections, as well as the most cost-effective management strategies. Initially, a urinary tract infection should be categorized as complicated or uncomplicated. Further categorization of the infection by clinical syndrome and by host (i.e., acute cystitis in young women, acute pyelonephritis, catheter-related infection, infection in men, asymptomatic bacteriuria in the elderly) helps the physician determine the appropriate diagnostic and management strategies. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections are caused by a predictable group of susceptible organisms. These infections can be empirically treated without the need for urine cultures. The most effective therapy for an uncomplicated infection is a three-day course of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Complicated infections are diagnosed by quantitative urine cultures and require a more prolonged course of therapy. Asymptomatic bacteriuria rarely requires treatment and is not associated with increased morbidity in elderly patients.
ABSTRACT: Medical problems associated with prematurity are frequently complex, and a multidisciplinary approach is often required. Some common problems include the following: (1) anemia, which can be reduced by iron supplementation, (2) cerebral palsy or mental retardation as a result of intraventricular hemorrhage or periventricular leukomalacia, (3) respiratory problems, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia and apnea, (4) visual problems, such as those associated with retinopathy of prematurity, (5) gastroesophageal reflux and (6) surgical problems, including inguinal or umbilical hernia and cryptorchidism. Monitoring of growth and development includes recording the infant's head circumference, weight and length on a growth chart for premature infants. Nutritional status should be assessed at each visit, watching for hyperosmolar problems in infants receiving high-calorie formulas. Consultation with other specialists may be required if abnormalities are identified during follow-up care in the office.
ABSTRACT: Chronic critical limb ischemia is manifested by pain at rest, nonhealing wounds and gangrene. Ischemic rest pain is typically described as a burning pain in the arch or distal foot that occurs while the patient is recumbent but is relieved when the patient returns to a position in which the feet are dependent. Objective hemodynamic parameters that support the diagnosis of critical limb ischemia include an ankle-brachial index of 0.4 or less, an ankle systolic pressure of 50 mm Hg or less, or a toe systolic pressure of 30 mm Hg or less. Intervention may include conservative therapy, revascularization or amputation. Progressive gangrene, rapidly enlarging wounds or continuous ischemic rest pain can signify a threat to the limb and suggest the need for revascularization in patients without prohibitive operative risks. Bypass grafts are usually required because of the multilevel and distal nature of the arterial narrowing in critical limb ischemia. Patients with diabetes are more likely than other patients to have distal disease that is less amenable to bypass grafting. Compared with amputation, revascularization is more cost-effective and is associated with better perioperative morbidity and mortality. Limb preservation should be the goal in most patients with critical limb ischemia.
'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.
School Problems and the Family Physician - Article
ABSTRACT: Children with school problems pose a challenge for the family physician. A multidisciplinary team of professionals can most appropriately assess and manage complex learning problems, which are often the cause of poor school performance. The family physician's primary role in this process is to identify or exclude medical causes of learning difficulties. An understanding of the complicated nature of school problems, the methods used to assess, diagnose and treat them, and the resources available to support the child and family are essential to successful management. Various references and resources are helpful for a more in-depth study of specific school problems.
ABSTRACT: Chronic cough is a common problem in patients who visit family physicians. The three most common causes of chronic cough in those who are referred to pulmonary specialists are postnasal drip, asthma and gastroesophageal reflux. The initial treatment of patients with cough is often empiric and may involve a trial of decongestants, bronchodilators or histamine H2 antagonists, as monotherapy or in combination. If a therapeutic trial is not successful, sequential diagnostic testing including chest radiograph, purified protein derivative test for tuberculosis, computed tomography of the sinuses, methacholine challenge test or barium swallow may be indicated. By using a standard protocol for diagnosis and treatment, 90 percent of patients with chronic cough can be managed successfully in the family physician's office. However, in some cases it may take three to five months to determine a diagnosis and effective treatment. For the minority of patients in whom this diagnostic approach is unsuccessful, consultation with a pulmonary specialist is appropriate.
ABSTRACT: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic, relapsing condition with associated morbidity and an adverse impact on quality of life. The disease is common, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 25 to 35 percent in the U.S. population. GERD can usually be diagnosed based on the clinical presentation alone. In some patients, however, the diagnosis may require endoscopy and, rarely, ambulatory pH monitoring. Management includes lifestyle modifications and pharmacologic therapy; refractory disease requires surgery. The therapeutic goals are to control symptoms, heal esophagitis and maintain remission so that morbidity is decreased and quality of life is improved.