ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Evaluation of Syncope - Article
ABSTRACT: Though relatively common, syncope is a complex presenting symptom defined by a transient loss of consciousness, usually accompanied by falling, and with spontaneous recovery. Syncope must be carefully differentiated from other conditions that may cause a loss of consciousness or falling. Syncope can be classified into four categories: reflex mediated, cardiac, orthostatic, and cerebrovascular. A cardiac cause of syncope is associated with significantly higher rates of morbidity and mortality than other causes. The evaluation of syncope begins with a careful history, physical examination, and electrocardiography. Additional testing should be based on the initial clinical evaluation. Older patients and those with underlying organic heart disease or abnormal electrocardiograms generally will need additional cardiac evaluation, which may include prolonged electrocardiographic monitoring, echocardiography, and exercise stress testing. When structural heart disease is excluded, tests for neurogenic reflex-mediated syncope, such as head-up tilt-table testing and carotid sinus massage, should be performed. The use of tests such as head computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, carotid and transcranial ultrasonography, and electroencephalography to detect cerebrovascular causes of syncope should be reserved for those few patients with syncope whose history suggests a neurologic event or who have focal neurologic signs or symptoms.
Update on Exercise Stress Testing - Article
ABSTRACT: Exercise stress testing is an important diagnostic tool for the evaluation of suspected or known cardiac disease. In 2002, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) revised their guidelines for exercise testing. Ten categories from the ACC/ AHA 1997 guidelines were modified: ST heart rate adjustment, unstable angina, older patients, acute coronary syndromes, chest pain centers, acute myocardial infarction, asymptomatic patients, valvular heart disease, rhythm disturbances, and hypertension. Adjustment of the ST heart rate can identify myocardial ischemia in asymptomatic patients with elevated cardiac risk. Intermediate- and low-risk patients with unstable angina, acute coronary syndromes, or chest pain should undergo exercise stress testing when clinically stable. Provided they are stable, patients who have had acute myocardial infarction can undergo a submaximal exercise test before discharge or a symptom-limited exercise stress test any time after two to three weeks have elapsed. In asymptomatic patients with cardiac risk factors, the exercise stress test may provide valuable prognostic information. Aortic regurgitation is the only valvular heart disorder in which there is significant evidence that exercise stress testing is useful in management decisions. The stress test also can be used in older patients to identify the presence of coronary artery disease. However, because of other comorbidities, a pharmacologic stress test may be necessary. Exercise stress testing can help physicians successfully evaluate arrhythmia in patients with syncope. The exercise stress test also can help identify patients at risk of developing hypertension if they show an abnormal hypertensive response to exercise.
Diagnostic Evaluation of Dyspnea - Article
ABSTRACT: Dyspnea is a common symptom and, in most cases, can be effectively managed in the office by the family physician. The differential diagnosis is composed of four general categories: cardiac, pulmonary, mixed cardiac or pulmonary, and noncardiac or nonpulmonary. Most cases of dyspnea are due to cardiac or pulmonary disease, which is readily identified with a careful history and physical examination. Chest radiographs, electrocardiograph and screening spirometry are easily performed diagnostic tests that can provide valuable information. In selected cases where the test results are inconclusive or require clarification, complete pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gas measurement, echocardiography and standard exercise treadmill testing or complete cardiopulmonary exercise testing may be useful. A consultation with a pulmonologist or cardiologist may be helpful to guide the selection and interpretation of second-line testing.
ABSTRACT: The exercise stress test is a useful screening tool for the detection of significant coronary artery disease. Documentation of the patient's symptoms, medications, past and current significant illnesses, and usual level of physical activity helps the physician determine if an exercise stress test is appropriate. The physical examination must include consideration of the patient's ability to walk and exercise, along with any signs of acute or serious disease that may affect the test results or the patient's ability to perform the test. The test report contains comments about the maximal heart rate and level of exercise achieved, and symptoms, arrhythmias, electrocardiographic changes and vital signs during exercise. This report allows the clinician to determine if the test was "maximal" or "submaximal." The quality of the test and its performance add to the validity of the results. The conclusion section of the test report indicates whether the test results were "positive," "negative," "equivocal" or "uninterpretable." Further testing may be indicated to obtain optional information about coronary artery disease and ischemic risk if the test results were equivocal or uninterpretable.
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.
The Preparticipation Athletic Evaluation - Article
ABSTRACT: A comprehensive medical history that includes questions about a personal and family history of cardiovascular disease is the most important initial component of the preparticipation athletic evaluation. Additional questions should focus on any history of neurologic or musculoskeletal problems. A limited physical examination should emphasize cardiac auscultation with provocative maneuvers to screen for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition is the most common cause of sudden death in young male athletes. Other components of the physical examination include an evaluation of the spine and extremities. Screening tests such as electrocardiography, treadmill stress testing and urinalysis are not indicated in the absence of symptoms or a significant history of risk factors. Specific conditions that would exclude or limit athletic participation include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, long QT interval syndrome, concussion, significant knee injury, sickle cell disease and uncontrolled seizures. Overall, about 1 percent of athletes who are screened are completely disqualified from sports participation.
Listening for Signals - Close-ups
ABSTRACT: Pulmonary rehabilitation is a nonpharmacologic therapy that has emerged as a standard of care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, patient-centered intervention that includes patient assessment, exercise training, self-management education, and psychosocial support. In the United States, pulmonary rehabilitation is usually given in outpatient, hospital-based programs lasting six to 12 weeks. Positive outcomes from pulmonary rehabilitation include increased exercise tolerance, reduced dyspnea and anxiety, increased self-efficacy, and improvement in health-related quality of life. Hospital admissions after exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are also reduced with this intervention. The positive outcomes associated with pulmonary rehabilitation are realized without demonstrable improvements in lung function. This paradox is explained by the fact that pulmonary rehabilitation identifies and treats the systemic effects of the disease. This intervention should be considered in patients who remain symptomatic or have decreased functional status despite optimal medical management. Medicare now covers up to 36 sessions of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with moderate, severe, and very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
ACC/AHA Panel Prepares Guidelines for Exercise Testing - Special Medical Reports
ABSTRACT: Office-based pulmonary function testing, also known as spirometry, is a powerful tool for primary care physicians to diagnose and manage respiratory problems. An obstructive defect is indicated by a low forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) ratio, which is defined as less than 70% or below the fifth percentile based on data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) in adults, and less than 85% in patients five to 18 years of age. If an obstructive defect is present, the physician should determine if the disease is reversible based on the increase in FEV1 or FVC after bronchodilator treatment (i.e., increase of more than 12% in patients five to 18 years of age, or more than 12% and more than 200 mL in adults). Asthma is typically reversible, whereas chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not. A restrictive pattern is indicated by an FVC below the fifth percentile based on NHANES III data in adults, or less than 80% in patients five to 18 years of age. If a restrictive pattern is present, full pulmonary function tests with diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide testing should be ordered to confirm restrictive lung disease and form a differential diagnosis. If both the FEV1/FVC ratio and the FVC are low, the patient has a mixed defect. The severity of the abnormality is determined by the FEV1 (percentage of predicted). If pulmonary function test results are normal, but the physician still suspects exercise- or allergen-induced asthma, bronchoprovocation (e.g., methacholine challenge, mannitol inhalation challenge, exercise testing) should be considered.