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Management of Acute Asthma Exacerbations - Article
ABSTRACT: Asthma exacerbations can be classified as mild, moderate, severe, or life threatening. Criteria for exacerbation severity are based on symptoms and physical examination parameters, as well as lung function and oxygen saturation. In patients with a peak expiratory flow of 50 to 79 percent of their personal best, up to two treatments of two to six inhalations of short-acting beta2 agonists 20 minutes apart followed by a reassessment of peak expiratory flow and symptoms may be safely employed at home. Administration using a hand-held metered-dose inhaler with a spacer device is at least equivalent to nebulized beta2 agonist therapy in children and adults. In the ambulatory and emergency department settings, the goals of treatment are correction of severe hypoxemia, rapid reversal of airflow obstruction, and reduction of the risk of relapse. Multiple doses of inhaled anticholinergic medication combined with beta2 agonists improve lung function and decrease hospitalization in school-age children with severe asthma exacerbations. Intravenous magnesium sulfate has been shown to significantly increase lung function and decrease the necessity of hospitalization in children. The administration of systemic corticosteroids within one hour of emergency department presentation decreases the need for hospitalization, with the most pronounced effect in patients with severe exacerbations. Airway inflammation can persist for days to weeks after an acute attack; therefore, more intensive treatment should be continued after discharge until symptoms and peak expiratory flow return to baseline.
Back Rash - Photo Quiz
ABSTRACT: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract at any point from the mouth to the rectum. Patients may experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, abdominal masses, and anemia. Extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn’s disease include osteoporosis, inflammatory arthropathies, scleritis, nephrolithiasis, cholelithiasis, and erythema nodosum. Acute phase reactants, such as C-reactive protein level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, are often increased with inflammation and may correlate with disease activity. Levels of vitamin B12, folate, albumin, prealbumin, and vitamin D can help assess nutritional status. Colonoscopy with ileoscopy, capsule endoscopy, computed tomography enterography, and small bowel follow-through are often used to diagnose Crohn’s disease. Ultrasonography, computed axial tomography, scintigraphy, and magnetic resonance imaging can assess for extraintestinal manifestations or complications (e.g., abscess, perforation). Mesalamine products are often used for the medical management of mild to moderate colonic Crohn’s disease. Antibiotics (e.g., metronidazole, fluoroquinolones) are often used for treatment. Patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease are treated with corticosteroids, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, or anti–tumor necrosis factor agents (e.g., infliximab, adalimumab). Severe disease may require emergent hospitalization and a multidisciplinary approach with a family physician, gastroenterologist, and surgeon.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Guillain-Barré syndrome consists of a group of neuropathic conditions characterized by progressive weakness and diminished or absent myotatic reflexes. The estimated annual incidence in the United States is 1.65 to 1.79 per 100,000 persons. Guillain-Barré syndrome is believed to result from an aberrant immune response that attacks nerve tissue. This response may be triggered by surgery, immunizations, or infections. The most common form of the disease, acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, presents as progressive motor weakness, usually beginning in the legs and advancing proximally. Symptoms typically peak within four weeks, then plateau before resolving. More than one-half of patients experience severe pain, and about two-thirds have autonomic symptoms, such as cardiac arrhythmias, blood pressure instability, or urinary retention. Advancing symptoms may compromise respiration and vital functions. Diagnosis is based on clinical features, cerebrospinal fluid testing, and nerve conduction studies. Cerebrospinal fluid testing shows increased protein levels but a normal white blood cell count. Nerve conduction studies show a slowing, or possible blockage, of conduction. Patients should be hospitalized for multidisciplinary supportive care and disease-modifying therapy. Supportive therapy includes controlling pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, carbamazepine, or gabapentin; monitoring for respiratory and autonomic complications; and preventing venous thrombosis, skin breakdown, and deconditioning. Plasma exchange therapy has been shown to improve short-term and long-term outcomes, and intravenous immune globulin has been shown to hasten recovery in adults and children. Other therapies, including corticosteroids, have not demonstrated benefit. About 3 percent of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome die. Neurologic problems persist in up to 20 percent of patients with the disease, and one-half of these patients are severely disabled.
Common Questions About Bell Palsy - Article
ABSTRACT: Bell palsy is an acute affliction of the facial nerve, resulting in sudden paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. Testing patients with unilateral facial paralysis for diabetes mellitus or Lyme disease is not routinely recommended. Patients with Lyme disease typically present with additional manifestations, such as arthritis, rash, or facial swelling. Diabetes may be a comorbidity of Bell palsy, but testing is not needed in the absence of other indications, such as hypertension. In patients with atypical symptoms, magnetic resonance imaging with contrast enhancement can be used to rule out cranial mass effect and to add prognostic value. Steroids improve resolution of symptoms in patients with Bell palsy and remain the preferred treatment. Antiviral agents have a limited role, and may improve outcomes when combined with steroids in patients with severe symptoms. When facial paralysis is prolonged, surgery may be indicated to prevent ocular desiccation secondary to incomplete eyelid closure. Facial nerve decompression is rarely indicated or performed. Physical therapy modalities, including electrostimulation, exercise, and massage, are neither beneficial nor harmful.
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