Items in AFP with MESH term: Diagnostic Imaging

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Diagnosis of Acute Abdominal Pain in Older Patients - Article

ABSTRACT: Acute abdominal pain is a common presenting complaint in older patients. Presentation may differ from that of the younger patient and is often complicated by coexistent disease, delays in presentation, and physical and social barriers. The physical examination can be misleadingly benign, even with catastrophic conditions such as abdominal aortic aneurysm rupture and mesenteric ischemia. Changes that occur in the biliary system because of aging make older patients vulnerable to acute cholecystitis, the most common indication for surgery in this population. In older patients with appendicitis, the initial diagnosis is correct only one half of the time, and there are increased rates of perforation and mortality when compared with younger patients. Medication use, gallstones, and alcohol use increase the risk of pancreatitis, and advanced age is an indicator of poor prognosis for this disease. Diverticulitis is a common cause of abdominal pain in the older patient; in appropriately selected patients, it may be treated on an outpatient basis with oral antibiotics. Small and large bowel obstructions, usually caused by adhesive disease or malignancy, are more common in the aged and often require surgery. Morbidity and mortality among older patients presenting with acute abdominal pain are high, and these patients often require hospitalization with prompt surgical consultation.


Screening for Breast Cancer: Current Recommendations and Future Directions - Article

ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is one of the most significant health concerns in the United States. Recent reviews have questioned the value of traditional breast cancer screening methods. Breast self-examination has been shown not to improve cancer-specific or all-cause mortality in large studies, but it is commonly advocated as a noninvasive screen. Patients who choose to perform self-examination should be trained in appropriate technique and follow-up. The contribution of the clinical breast examination to early detection is difficult to determine, but studies show that sensitivity is highly dependent on time taken to do the examination. Up to 10 percent of cancers are mammographically silent but evident on clinical breast examination. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammography for women older than 40 years who are in good health, but physicians should consider that sensitivity is lower for younger women. Digital mammography is somewhat more sensitive in younger women and women with dense breasts, but outcome studies are lacking. Although magnetic resonance imaging shows promise as a screening tool in some high-risk women, it is not currently recommended for general screening because of high false-positive rates and cost. The American Cancer Society recommends annual magnetic resonance imaging as an adjunct to screening mammography in high-risk women 30 years and older.


Cysticercosis: An Emerging Parasitic Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Cysticercosis (i.e., tapeworm infection) is an increasingly common medical problem in the United States, especially in the Southwest and other areas of heavy emigration from endemic areas or in populations with significant travel to these areas. The larval stage of the pork tape-worm, Taenia solium, causes the clinical syndrome of cysticercosis, with humans as dead-end hosts after ingestion of T solium eggs. Its clinical effects vary depending on site of larval lodging, larval burden, and host reaction. These effects include seizures, headaches, focal neurologic symptoms, visual disturbances, and localized skeletal muscle nodules and pain. Cysticercosis should be considered in any patient from an endemic area presenting with these symptoms. Treatment varies with the clinical presentation. Parenchymal neurocysticercosis generally is treated with albendazole in conjunction with steroids to limit edema and with antiepileptic medications for seizure control. Ocular and extraocular muscle cysticercosis generally requires surgical intervention. Skeletal muscle cysts are surgically removed only if painful. Because cysts can lodge in multiple locations, all patients with cysticercosis should have an ophthalmologic examination to rule out ocular involvement, and all patients with extraneurologic cysticercosis should have computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging of the brain to rule out neurocysticercosis.


Evaluation of Nausea and Vomiting - Article

ABSTRACT: A comprehensive history and physical examination can often reveal the cause of nausea and vomiting, making further evaluation unnecessary. Acute symptoms generally are the result of infectious, inflammatory, or iatrogenic causes. Most infections are self-limiting and require minimal intervention; iatrogenic causes can be resolved by removing the offending agent. Chronic symptoms are usually a pathologic response to any of a variety of conditions. Gastrointestinal etiologies include obstruction, functional disorders, and organic diseases. Central nervous system etiologies are primarily related to conditions that increase intracranial pressure, and typically cause other neurologic signs. Pregnancy is the most common endocrinologic cause of nausea and must be considered in any woman of childbearing age. Numerous metabolic abnormalities and psychiatric diagnoses also may cause nausea and vomiting. Evaluation should first focus on detecting any emergencies or complications that require hospitalization. Attention should then turn to identifying the underlying cause and providing specific therapies. When the cause cannot be determined, empiric therapy with an antiemetic is appropriate. Initial diagnostic testing should generally be limited to basic laboratory tests and plain radiography. Further testing, such as upper endoscopy or computed tomography of the abdomen, should be determined by clinical suspicion based on a complete history and physical examination.


Radiologic Evaluation of Chronic Foot Pain - Article

ABSTRACT: Chronic foot pain is a common and often disabling clinical complaint that can interfere with a patient's routine activities. Despite careful and detailed clinical history and physical examination, providing an accurate diagnosis is often difficult because chronic foot pain has a broad spectrum of potential causes. Therefore, imaging studies play a key role in diagnosis and management. Initial assessment is typically done by plain radiography; however, magnetic resonance imaging has superior soft-tissue contrast resolution and multiplanar capability, which makes it important in the early diagnosis of ambiguous or clinically equivocal cases when initial radiographic findings are inconclusive. Computed tomography displays bony detail in stress fractures, as well as in arthritides and tarsal coalition. Bone scanning and ultrasonography also are useful tools for diagnosing specific conditions that produce chronic foot pain.


Metastatic Carcinoma of the Long Bones - Article

ABSTRACT: Breast, prostate, renal, thyroid, and lung carcinomas commonly metastasize to bone. Managing skeletal metastatic disease can be complex. Pain is the most common presenting symptom and requires thorough radiographic and laboratory evaluation. If plain-film radiography is not sufficient for diagnosis, a bone scan may detect occult lesions. Patients with lytic skeletal metastases may be at risk for impending fracture. Destructive lesions in the proximal femur and hip area are particularly worrisome. High-risk patients require immediate referral to an orthopedic surgeon. Patients who are not at risk for impending fracture can be treated with a combination of radiotherapy and adjuvant drug therapy. Bisphosphonates diminish pain and prolong the time to significant skeletal complications.


Acute Lumbar Disk Pain: Navigating Evaluation and Treatment Choices - Article

ABSTRACT: Acute lumbar disk herniations are the most common cause of sciatica. After excluding emergent causes, such as cauda equina syndrome, epidural abscess, fracture, or malignancy, a six-week trial of conservative management is indicated. Patients should be advised to stay active. If symptoms persist after six weeks, or if there is worsening neurologic function, imaging and invasive procedures may be considered. Most patients with lumbar disk herniations improve over six weeks. Because there is no difference in outcomes between surgical and conservative treatment after two years, patient preference and the severity of the disability from the pain should be considered when choosing treatment modalities. If a disk herniation is identified that correlates with physical findings, surgical diskectomy may improve symptoms more quickly than continued conservative management. Epidural steroid injections can also provide short-term relief.


The Limping Child: A Systematic Approach to Diagnosis - Article

ABSTRACT: Deviations from a normal age-appropriate gait pattern can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. In most children, limping is caused by a mild, self-limiting event, such as a contusion, strain, or sprain. In some cases, however, a limp can be a sign of a serious or even life-threatening condition. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can result in significant morbidity and mortality. Examination of a limping child should begin with a thorough history, focusing on the presence of pain, any history of trauma, and any associated systemic symptoms. The presence of fever, night sweats, weight loss, and anorexia suggests the possibility of infection, inflammation, or malignancy. Physical examination should focus on identifying the type of limp and localizing the site of pathology by direct palpation and by examining the range of motion of individual joints. Localized tenderness may indicate contusions, fractures, osteomyelitis, or malignancy. A palpable mass raises the concern of malignancy. The child should be carefully examined because non-musculoskeletal conditions can cause limping. Based on the most probable diagnoses suggested by the history and physical examination, the appropriate use of laboratory tests and imaging studies can help confirm the diagnosis.


Asymptomatic Microscopic Hematuria in Adults: Summary of the AUA Best Practice Policy Recommendations - Article

ABSTRACT: The American Urological Association (AUA) convened the Best Practice Policy Panel on Asymptomatic Microscopic Hematuria to formulate policy statements and recommendations for the evaluation of asymptomatic microhematuria in adults. The recommended definition of microscopic hematuria is three or more red blood cells per high-power microscopic field in urinary sediment from two of three properly collected urinalysis specimens. This definition accounts for some degree of hematuria in normal patients, as well as the intermittent nature of hematuria in patients with urologic malignancies. Asymptomatic microscopic hematuria has causes ranging from minor findings that do not require treatment to highly significant, life-threatening lesions. Therefore, the AUA recommends that an appropriate renal or urologic evaluation be performed in all patients with asymptomatic microscopic hematuria who are at risk for urologic disease or primary renal disease. At this time, there is no consensus on when to test for microscopic hematuria in the primary care setting, and screening is not addressed in this report. However, the AUA report suggests that the patient's history and physical examination should help the physician decide whether testing is appropriate.


A Clinical Approach to Diagnosing Wrist Pain - Article

ABSTRACT: A detailed history alone may lead to a specific diagnosis in approximately 70 percent of patients who have wrist pain. Patients who present with spontaneous onset of wrist pain, who have a vague or distant history of trauma, or whose activities consist of repetitive loading could be suffering from a carpal bone nonunion or from avascular necrosis. The hand and wrist can be palpated to localize tenderness to a specific anatomic structure. Special tests can help support specific diagnoses (e.g., Finkelstein's test, the grind test, the lunotriquetral shear test, McMurray's test, the supination lift test, Watson's test). When radiography is indicated, the posterior-anterior and lateral views are essential to evaluate the bony architecture and alignment, the width and symmetry of the joint spaces, and the soft tissues. When the diagnosis remains unclear, or when the clinical course does not improve with conservative measures, further imaging modalities are indicated, including ultrasonography, technetium bone scan, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. If all studies are negative and clinically significant wrist pain continues, the patient may need to be referred to a specialist for further evaluation, which may include cineroentgenography, diagnostic arthrography, or arthroscopy.


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