Items in AFP with MESH term: Lung Diseases

Asbestos-Related Lung Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: The inhalation of asbestos fibers may lead to a number of respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, benign pleural effusion, and malignant mesothelioma. Although exposure is now regulated, patients continue to present with these diseases because of the long latent period between exposure and clinical disease. Presenting signs and symptoms tend to be nonspecific; thus, the occupational history helps guide clinical suspicion. High-risk populations include persons in construction trades, boilermakers, shipyard workers, railroad workers, and U.S. Navy veterans. Every effort should be made to minimize ongoing exposure. Patients with a history of significant asbestos exposure may warrant diagnostic testing and follow-up assessment, although it is unclear whether this improves outcomes. Patients with significant exposure and dyspnea should have chest radiography and spirometry. The prognosis depends on the specific disease entity. Asbestosis generally progresses slowly, whereas malignant mesothelioma has an extremely poor prognosis. The treatment of patients with asbestos exposure and lung cancer is identical to that of any patient with lung cancer. Because exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer in patients with a history of asbestos exposure, smoking cessation is essential. Patients with asbestosis or lung cancer should receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.


Systemic Sclerosis/Scleroderma: A Treatable Multisystem Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (systemic scleroderma) is a chronic connective tissue disease of unknown etiology that causes widespread microvascular damage and excessive deposition of collagen in the skin and internal organs. Raynaud phenomenon and scleroderma (hardening of the skin) are hallmarks of the disease. The typical patient is a young or middle-age woman with a history of Raynaud phenomenon who presents with skin induration and internal organ dysfunction. Clinical evaluation and laboratory testing, along with pulmonary function testing, Doppler echocardiography, and high-resolution computed tomography of the chest, establish the diagnosis and detect visceral involvement. Patients with systemic sclerosis can be classified into two distinct clinical subsets with different patterns of skin and internal organ involvement, autoantibody production, and survival. Prognosis is determined by the degree of internal organ involvement. Although no disease-modifying therapy has been proven effective, complications of systemic sclerosis are treatable, and interventions for organ-specific manifestations have improved substantially. Medications (e.g., calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-II receptor blockers for Raynaud phenomenon, appropriate treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease) and lifestyle modifications can help prevent complications, such as digital ulcers and Barrett esophagus. Endothelin-1 receptor blockers and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors improve pulmonary arterial hypertension. The risk of renal damage from scleroderma renal crisis can be lessened by early detection, prompt initiation of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy, and avoidance of high-dose corticosteroids. Optimal patient care includes an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to promptly and effectively recognize, evaluate, and manage complications and limit end-organ dysfunction.


Neurological Complications of Scuba Diving - Article

ABSTRACT: Recreational scuba diving has become a popular sport in the United States, with almost 9 million certified divers. When severe diving injury occurs, the nervous system is frequently involved. In dive-related barotrauma, compressed or expanding gas within the ears, sinuses and lungs causes various forms of neurologic injury. Otic barotrauma often induces pain, vertigo and hearing loss. In pulmonary barotrauma of ascent, lung damage can precipitate arterial gas embolism, causing blockage of cerebral blood vessels and alterations of consciousness, seizures and focal neurologic deficits. In patients with decompression sickness, the vestibular system, spinal cord and brain are affected by the formation of nitrogen bubbles. Common signs and symptoms include vertigo, thoracic myelopathy with leg weakness, confusion, headache and hemiparesis. Other diving-related neurologic complications include headache and oxygen toxicity.


Dyspnea and Dry Cough in a Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis - Photo Quiz


Preoperative Evaluation - Article

ABSTRACT: A history and physical examination, focusing on risk factors for cardiac, pulmonary and infectious complications, and a determination of a patient's functional capacity, are essential to any preoperative evaluation. In addition, the type of surgery influences the overall perioperative risk and the need for further cardiac evaluation. Routine laboratory studies are rarely helpful except to monitor known disease states. Patients with good functional capacity do not require preoperative cardiac stress testing in most surgical cases. Unstable angina, myocardial infarction within six weeks and aortic or peripheral vascular surgery place a patient into a high-risk category for perioperative cardiac complications. Patients with respiratory disease may benefit from perioperative use of bronchodilators or steroids. Patients at increased risk of pulmonary complications should receive instruction in deep-breathing exercises or incentive spirometry. Assessment of nutritional status should be performed. An albumin level of less than 3.2 mg per dL (32 g per L) suggests an increased risk of complications. Patients deemed at risk because of compromised nutritional status may benefit from pre- and postoperative nutritional supplementation.



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