Items in AFP with MESH term: Decision Trees
Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypothermia - Article
ABSTRACT: Although hypothermia is most common in patients who are exposed to a cold environment, it can develop secondary to toxin exposure, metabolic derangements, infections, and dysfunction of the central nervous and endocrine systems. The clinical presentation of hypothermia includes a spectrum of symptoms and is grouped into the following three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. Management depends on the degree of hypothermia present. Treatment modalities range from noninvasive, passive external warming techniques (e.g., removal of cold, wet clothing; movement to a warm environment) to active external rewarming (e.g., insulation with warm blankets) to active core rewarming (e.g., warmed intravenous fluid infusions, heated humidified oxygen, body cavity lavage, and extracorporeal blood warming). Mild to moderate hypothermia is treated easily with supportive care in most clinical settings and has good patient outcomes. The treatment of severe hypothermia is more complex, and outcomes depend heavily on clinical resources. Prevention and recognition of atypical presentations are essential to reducing the rates of morbidity and mortality associated with this condition.
ABSTRACT: Mild elevations in liver chemistry tests such as alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase can reveal serious underlying conditions or have transient and benign etiologies. Potential causes of liver transaminase elevations include viral hepatitis, alcohol use, medication use, steatosis or steatohepatitis, and cirrhosis. The history should be thorough, with special attention given to the use of medications, vitamins, herbs, drugs, and alcohol; family history; and any history of blood-product transfusions. Other common health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disease, can cause or augment liver transaminase elevations. The recent American Gastroenterological Association guideline regarding the evaluation and management of abnormal liver chemistry tests proposes a practical, algorithmic approach when the history and physical examination do not reveal the cause. In addition to liver chemistries, an initial serologic evaluation includes a prothrombin time; albumin; complete blood count with platelets; hepatitis A, B, and C serologies; and iron studies. Depending on the etiology, management strategies may include cessation of alcohol use, attention to medications, control of diabetes, and modification of lifestyle factors such as obesity. If elevations persist after an appropriate period of observation, further testing may include ultrasonography and other serum studies. In some cases, biopsy may be indicated.
Diagnosis of Acute Coronary Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: The term 'acute coronary syndrome' encompasses a range of thrombotic coronary artery diseases, including unstable angina and both ST-segment elevation and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Diagnosis requires an electrocardiogram and a careful review for signs and symptoms of cardiac ischemia. In acute coronary syndrome, common electrocardiographic abnormalities include T-wave tenting or inversion, ST-segment elevation or depression (including J-point elevation in multiple leads), and pathologic Q waves. Risk stratification allows appropriate referral of patients to a chest pain center or emergency department, where cardiac enzyme levels can be assessed. Most high-risk patients should be hospitalized. Intermediate-risk patients should undergo a structured evaluation, often in a chest pain unit. Many low-risk patients can be discharged with appropriate follow-up. Troponin T or I generally is the most sensitive determinant of acute coronary syndrome, although the MB isoenzyme of creatine kinase also is used. Early markers of acute ischemia include myoglobin and creatine kinase-MB subforms (or isoforms), when available. In the future, advanced diagnostic modalities, such as myocardial perfusion imaging, may have a role in reducing unnecessary hospitalizations.
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.
Hemoptysis: Diagnosis and Management - Article
ABSTRACT: Hemoptysis is the spitting of blood that originated in the lungs or bronchial tubes. The patient's history should help determine the amount of blood and differentiate between hemoptysis, pseudohemoptysis, and hematemesis. A focused physical examination can lead to the diagnosis in most cases. In children, lower respiratory tract infection and foreign body aspiration are common causes. In adults, bronchitis, bronchogenic carcinoma, and pneumonia are the major causes. Chest radiographs often aid in diagnosis and assist in using two complementary diagnostic procedures, fiberoptic bronchoscopy and high-resolution computed tomography, which are useful in difficult cases and when malignancy is suspected. The goals of management are threefold: bleeding cessation, aspiration prevention, and treatment of the underlying cause. Mild hemoptysis often is caused by an infection that can be managed on an outpatient basis with dose monitoring. If hemoptysis persists, consulting with a pulmonologist should be considered. Patients with risk factors for malignancy or recurrent hemoptysis also require further evaluation with fiberoptic bronchoscopy or high-resolution computed tomography. In up to 34 percent of patients, no cause of hemoptysis can be found.
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.
Aortic Stenosis: Diagnosis and Treatment - Article
ABSTRACT: Aortic stenosis is the most important cardiac valve disease in developed countries, affecting 3 percent of persons older than 65 years. Although the survival rate in asymptomatic patients with aortic stenosis is comparable to that in age- and sex-matched control patients, the average overall survival rate in symptomatic persons without aortic valve replacement is two to three years. During the asymptomatic latent period, left ventricular hypertrophy and atrial augmentation of preload compensate for the increase in afterload caused by aortic stenosis. As the disease worsens, these compensatory mechanisms become inadequate, leading to symptoms of heart failure, angina, or syncope. Aortic valve replacement should be recommended in most patients with any of these symptoms accompanied by evidence of significant aortic stenosis on echocardiography. Watchful waiting is recommended for most asymptomatic patients, including those with hemodynamically significant aortic stenosis. Patients should be educated about symptoms and the importance of promptly reporting them to their physicians. Serial Doppler echocardiography is recommended annually for severe aortic stenosis, every one or two years for moderate disease, and every three to five years for mild disease. Cardiology referral is recommended for all patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis, those with severe aortic stenosis without apparent symptoms, and those with left ventricular dysfunction. Many patients with asymptomatic aortic stenosis have concurrent cardiac conditions, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and coronary artery disease, which should also be carefully managed.
Predicting Mortality Risk in Patients with Acute Exacerbations of Heart Failure - Point-of-Care Guides
Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Article
ABSTRACT: Patients with an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, have recurrent symptoms with considerable morbidity. Patient involvement and education are necessary components of effective management. Mild disease requires only symptomatic relief and dietary manipulation. Mild to moderate disease can be managed with 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds, including olsalazine and mesalamine. Mesalamine enemas and suppositories are useful in treating proctosigmoiditis. Antibiotics such as metronidazole may be required in patients with Crohn's disease. Corticosteroids are beneficial in patients with more severe symptoms, but side effects limit their use, particularly for chronic therapy. Immunosuppressant therapy may be considered in patients with refractory disease that is not amenable to surgery. Inflammatory bowel disease in pregnant women can be managed with 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds and corticosteroids. Since longstanding inflammatory bowel disease (especially ulcerative colitis) is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, periodic colonoscopy is warranted.
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.