Items in AFP with MESH term: Decision Trees

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Management of Spontaneous Abortion - Article

ABSTRACT: Spontaneous abortion, which is the loss of a pregnancy without outside intervention before 20 weeks' gestation, affects up to 20 percent of recognized pregnancies. Spontaneous abortion can be subdivided into threatened abortion, inevitable abortion, incomplete abortion, missed abortion, septic abortion, complete abortion, and recurrent spontaneous abortion. Ultrasonography is helpful in the diagnosis of spontaneous abortion, but other testing may be needed if an ectopic pregnancy cannot be ruled out. Chromosomal abnormalities are causative in approximately 50 percent of spontaneous abortions; multiple other factors also may play a role. Traditional treatment consisting of surgical evacuation of the uterus remains the treatment of choice in unstable patients. Recent studies suggest that expectant or medical management is appropriate in selected patients. Patients with a completed spontaneous abortion rarely require medical or surgical intervention. For women with incomplete spontaneous abortion, expectant management for up to two weeks usually is successful, and medical therapy provides little additional benefit. When patients are allowed to choose between treatment options, a large percentage will choose expectant management. Expectant management of missed spontaneous abortion has variable success rates, but medical therapy with intravaginal misoprostol has an 80 percent success rate. Physicians should be aware of psychologic issues that patients and their partners face after completing a spontaneous abortion. Women are at increased risk for significant depression and anxiety for up to one year after spontaneous abortion. Counseling to address feelings of guilt, the grief process, and how to cope with friends and family should be provided.


Prevention of Falls in Older Patients - Article

ABSTRACT: Falls are one of the most common geriatric syndromes threatening the independence of older persons. Between 30 and 40 percent of community-dwelling adults older than 65 years fall each year, and the rates are higher for nursing home residents. Falls are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and nursing home placement. Most falls have multiple causes. Risk factors for falls include muscle weakness, a history of falls, use of four or more prescription medications, use of an assistive device, arthritis, depression, age older than 80 years, and impairments in gait, balance, cognition, vision, and activities of daily living. Physicians caring for older patients should ask about any falls that have occurred in the past year. Assessment should include evaluating the circumstances of the fall and a complete history and physical examination, looking for potential risk factors. The most effective fall prevention strategies are multifactorial interventions targeting identified risk factors, exercises for muscle strengthening combined with balance training, and withdrawal of psychotropic medication. Home hazard assessment and modification by a health professional also is helpful.


Chronic Bronchitis: Primary Care Management - Article

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.


Diagnosis and Management of the Adnexal Mass - Article

ABSTRACT: Adnexal masses are frequently found in both symptomatic and asymptomatic women. In premenopausal women, physiologic follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts are the most common adnexal masses, but the possibility of ectopic pregnancy must always be considered. Other masses in this age group include endometriomas, polycystic ovaries, tubo-ovarian abscesses and benign neoplasms. Malignant neoplasms are uncommon in younger women but become more frequent with increasing age. In postmenopausal women with adnexal masses, both primary and secondary neoplasms must be considered, along with leiomyomas, ovarian fibromas and other lesions such as diverticular abscesses. Information from the history, physical examination, ultrasound evaluation and selected laboratory tests will enable the physician to find the most likely cause of an adnexal mass. Measurement of serum CA-125 is a useful test for ovarian malignancy in postmenopausal women with pelvic masses. Asymptomatic premenopausal patients with simple ovarian cysts less than 10 cm in diameter can be observed or placed on suppressive therapy with oral contraceptives. Postmenopausal women with simple cysts less than 3 cm in diameter may also be followed, provided the serum CA-125 level is not elevated and the patient has no signs or symptoms suggestive of malignancy.


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.


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.


HPV Testing in the Evaluation of the Minimally Abnormal Papanicolaou Smear - Article

ABSTRACT: Minor cytologic abnormalities of the cervix, such as atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS), are vastly more common than high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions or invasive cancer. Current guidelines for the management of ASCUS include repeating the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear at specific intervals, referring all patients for colposcopy or using an adjunctive test such as hybrid capture human papillomavirus (HPV) testing or cervicography. The usefulness of the Pap smear is limited by its considerable false-negative rate and its dependence on clinician and laboratory performance. Colposcopy is a highly sensitive procedure, but many patients with ASCUS have normal colposcopic findings. The hybrid capture test not only measures quantitative HPV load but also detects both oncogenic and nononcogenic HPV types, thereby increasing the probability that serious cervical disease is not missed. Hybrid capture sampling is simple to perform, and positive results are strongly associated with cervical dysplasia. HPV testing in women with ASCUS can be used as an adjunctive test to identify those with HPV-associated disease; it can also serve as a quality assurance measure. Together, repeat Pap smears and HPV testing should identify most patients with underlying cervical dysplasia. Combined testing may also minimize the number of unnecessary colposcopic examinations in women who have no disease.


Endometrial Cancer - Article

ABSTRACT: Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, accounting for approximately 6,000 deaths per year in the United States. It is more common in women who are older, white, affluent obese and of low parity. Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are also predisposing factors. Because any condition that increases exposure to unopposed estrogen increases the risk of endometrial cancer, tamoxifen therapy, estrogen replacement therapy without progestin and the presence of estrogen-secreting tumors are all risk factors. Smoking and the use of oral contraceptives appear to decrease the risk. Women with an increased risk and those with postmenopausal bleeding should be screened for endometrial cancer. Endometrial sampling is currently the most accurate and widely used screening technique, but ultrasonographic measurement of endometrial thickness and hysteroscopy have also been studied. Patients with endometrial specimens that show atypia have about a 25 percent likelihood of progressing to carcinoma, compared with less than 2 percent in patients without atypia. Endometrial cancer is usually treated surgically, but in patients with appropriate pathologic findings who decline surgical treatment, progestin therapy may be satisfactory.


An Office Approach to the Diagnosis of Chronic Cough - Article

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.


Advances in the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Management of the most common type of dementia--Alzheimer's disease--is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Differentiation of Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia has become therapeutically important, since the choice of treatments depends on the diagnosis. Two cholinesterase inhibitors, donepezil and tacrine, are labeled for use in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Other therapies, such as estrogen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and vitamin E, are sometimes used and show promise in delaying the progression of this dementia. Behavior problems, which often accompany the disease, can be managed using environmental modification, alterations in caregiving and medication. In the terminal phase of the illness, quality care involves implementing advance directives, communicating with the family, individualizing care and attending to patient comfort.


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