Items in AFP with MESH term: Medical History Taking

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Diagnosis and Management of Osteomyelitis - Article

ABSTRACT: The incidence of chronic osteomyelitis is increasing because of the prevalence of predisposing conditions such as diabetes mellitus and peripheral vascular disease. The increased availability of sensitive imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging and bone scintigraphy, has improved diagnostic accuracy and the ability to characterize the infection. Plain radiography is a useful initial investigation to identify alternative diagnoses and potential complications. Direct sampling of the wound for culture and antimicrobial sensitivity is essential to target treatment. The increased incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus osteomyelitis complicates antibiotic selection. Surgical debridement is usually necessary in chronic cases. The recurrence rate remains high despite surgical intervention and long-term antibiotic therapy. Acute hematogenous osteomyelitis in children typically can be treated with a four-week course of antibiotics. In adults, the duration of antibiotic treatment for chronic osteomyelitis is typically several weeks longer. In both situations, however, empiric antibiotic coverage for S. aureus is indicated.


Evaluation of Chronic Diarrhea - Article

ABSTRACT: Chronic diarrhea, defined as a decrease in stool consistency for more than four weeks, is a common but challenging clinical scenario. It can be divided into three basic categories: watery, fatty (malabsorption), and inflammatory. Watery diarrhea may be subdivided into osmotic, secretory, and functional types. Watery diarrhea includes irritable bowel syndrome, which is the most common cause of functional diarrhea. Another example of watery diarrhea is microscopic colitis, which is a secretory diarrhea affecting older persons. Laxative-induced diarrhea is often osmotic. Malabsorptive diarrhea is characterized by excess gas, steatorrhea, or weight loss; giardiasis is a classic infectious example. Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is also malabsorptive, and typically results in weight loss and iron deficiency anemia. Inflammatory diarrhea, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease, is characterized by blood and pus in the stool and an elevated fecal calprotectin level. Invasive bacteria and parasites also produce inflammation. Infections caused by Clostridium difficile subsequent to antibiotic use have become increasingly common and virulent. Not all chronic diarrhea is strictly watery, malabsorptive, or inflammatory, because some categories overlap. Still, the most practical diagnostic approach is to attempt to categorize the diarrhea by type before testing and treating. This narrows the list of diagnostic possibilities and reduces unnecessary testing. Empiric therapy is justified when a specific diagnosis is strongly suspected and follow-up is available.


Why I Let My Patients See My Notes - Opinion


Diagnosis and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis - Article

ABSTRACT: Plantar fasciitis, a self-limiting condition, is a common cause of heel pain in adults. It affects more than 1 million persons per year, and two-thirds of patients with plantar fasciitis will seek care from their family physician. Plantar fasciitis affects sedentary and athletic populations. Obesity, excessive foot pronation, excessive running, and prolonged standing are risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. Diagnosis is primarily based on history and physical examination. Patients may present with heel pain with their first steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting, and sharp pain with palpation of the medial plantar calcaneal region. Discomfort in the proximal plantar fascia can be elicited by passive ankle/first toe dorsiflexion. Diagnostic imaging is rarely needed for the initial diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. Use of ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging is reserved for recalcitrant cases or to rule out other heel pathology; findings of increased plantar fascia thickness and abnormal tissue signal the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. Conservative treatments help with the disabling pain. Initially, patient-directed treatments consisting of rest, activity modification, ice massage, oral analgesics, and stretching techniques can be tried for several weeks. If heel pain persists, then physician-prescribed treatments such as physical therapy modalities, foot orthotics, night splinting, and corticosteroid injections should be considered. Ninety percent of patients will improve with these conservative techniques. Patients with chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis lasting six months or longer can consider extracorporeal shock wave therapy or plantar fasciotomy.


Evaluation of Syncope - Article

ABSTRACT: Syncope is a transient and abrupt loss of consciousness with complete return to preexisting neurologic function. It is classified as neurally mediated (i.e., carotid sinus hypersensitivity, situational, or vasovagal), cardiac, orthostatic, or neurogenic. Older adults are more likely to have orthostatic, carotid sinus hypersensitivity, or cardiac syn- cope, whereas younger adults are more likely to have vasovagal syncope. Common nonsyncopal syndromes with similar presentations include seizures, metabolic and psychogenic disorders, and acute intoxication. Patients presenting with syncope (other than neurally mediated and orthostatic syncope) are at increased risk of death from any cause. Useful clinical rules to assess the short-term risk of death and the need for immediate hospitalization include the San Francisco Syncope Rule and the Risk Stratification of Syncope in the Emergency Department rule. Guidelines suggest an algorithmic approach to the evaluation of syncope that begins with the history and physical examination. All patients presenting with syncope require electrocardiography, orthostatic vital signs, and QT interval monitoring. Patients with cardiovascular disease, abnormal electrocardiography, or family history of sudden death, and those presenting with unexplained syncope should be hospitalized for further diagnostic evaluation. Patients with neurally mediated or orthostatic syncope usually require no additional testing. In cases of unexplained syncope, further testing such as echocardiography, grade exercise testing, electrocardiographic monitoring, and electrophysiologic studies may be required. Although a subset of patients will have unexplained syncope despite undergoing a comprehensive evaluation, those with multiple episodes compared with an isolated event are more likely to have a serious underlying disorder.


The Adult Well Male Examination - Article

ABSTRACT: The adult well male examination should incorporate evidence-based guidance toward the promotion of optimal health and well-being, including screening tests shown to improve health outcomes. Nearly one-third of men report not having a primary care physician. The medical history should include substance use; risk factors for sexually transmitted infections; diet and exercise habits; and symptoms of depression. Physical examination should include blood pressure and body mass index screening. Men with sustained blood pressures greater than 135/80 mm Hg should be screened for diabetes mellitus. Lipid screening is warranted in all men 35 years and older, and in men 20 to 34 years of age who have cardiovascular risk factors. Ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm should occur between 65 and 75 years of age in men who have ever smoked. There is insufficient evidence to recommend screening men for osteoporosis or skin cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has provisionally recommended against prostate-specific antigen–based screening for prostate cancer because the harms of testing and overtreatment outweigh potential benefits. Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at 50 years of age in men of average risk and continue until at least 75 years of age. Screening should be performed by high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing every year, flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years combined with annual fecal occult blood testing, or colonoscopy every 10 years. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against screening for testicular cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Immunizations should be recommended according to guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Do Electronic Health Records Improve Processes and Outcomes of Preventive Care? - Editorials


Diagnosis and Management of Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding - Article

ABSTRACT: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding causes significant morbidity and mortality in the United States, and has been associated with increasing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and the high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding. Rapid assessment and resuscitation should precede the diagnostic evaluation in unstable patients with severe bleeding. Risk stratification is based on clinical assessment and endoscopic findings. Early upper endoscopy (within 24 hours of presentation) is recommended in most patients because it confirms the diagnosis and allows for targeted endoscopic treatment, including epinephrine injection, thermocoagulation, application of clips, and banding. Endoscopic therapy results in reduced morbidity, hospital stays, risk of recurrent bleeding, and need for surgery. Although administration of proton pump inhibitors does not decrease mortality, risk of rebleeding, or need for surgery, it reduces stigmata of recent hemorrhage and the need for endoscopic therapy. Despite successful endoscopic therapy, rebleeding can occur in 10 to 20 percent of patients; a second attempt at endoscopic therapy is recommended in these patients. Arteriography with embolization or surgery may be needed if there is persistent and severe bleeding.


Causes and Evaluation of Chronic Dyspnea - Article

ABSTRACT: Chronic dyspnea is shortness of breath that lasts more than one month. The perception of dyspnea varies based on behavioral and physiologic responses. Dyspnea that is greater than expected with the degree of exertion is a symptom of disease. Most cases of dyspnea result from asthma, heart failure and myocardial ischemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, interstitial lung disease, pneumonia, or psychogenic disorders. The etiology of dyspnea is multifactorial in about one-third of patients. The clinical presentation alone is adequate to make a diagnosis in 66 percent of patients with dyspnea. Patients’ descriptions of the sensation of dyspnea may be helpful, but associated symptoms and risk factors, such as smoking, chemical exposures, and medication use, should also be considered. Examination findings (e.g., jugular venous distention, decreased breath sounds or wheezing, pleural rub, clubbing) may be helpful in making the diagnosis. Initial testing in patients with chronic dyspnea includes chest radiography, electrocardiography, spirometry, complete blood count, and basic metabolic panel. Measurement of brain natriuretic peptide levels may help exclude heart failure, and D-dimer testing may help rule out pulmonary emboli. Pulmonary function studies can be used to identify emphysema and interstitial lung diseases. Computed tomography of the chest is the most appropriate imaging study for diagnosing suspected pulmonary causes of chronic dyspnea. To diagnose pulmonary arterial hypertension or certain interstitial lung diseases, right heart catheterization or bronchoscopy may be needed.


Health Maintenance in Women - Article

ABSTRACT: The health maintenance examination is an opportunity to focus on disease prevention and health promotion. The patient history should include screening for tobacco use, alcohol misuse, intimate partner violence, and depression. Premenopausal women should receive preconception counseling and contraception as needed, and all women planning or capable of pregnancy should take 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid per day. High-risk sexually active women should be counseled on reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, and screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. All women should be screened for human immunodeficiency virus. Adults should be screened for obesity and elevated blood pressure. Women 20 years and older should be screened for dyslipidemia if they are at increased risk of coronary heart disease. Those with sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80 mm Hg should be screened for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Women 55 to 79 years of age should take 75 mg of aspirin per day when the benefits of stroke reduction outweigh the increased risk of gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Women should begin cervical cancer screening by Papanicolaou test at 21 years of age, and if results have been normal, screening may be discontinued at 65 years of age or after total hysterectomy. Breast cancer screening with mammography may be considered in women 40 to 49 years of age based on patients’ values, and potential benefits and harms. Mammography is recommended biennially in women 50 to 74 years of age. Women should be screened for colorectal cancer from 50 to 75 years of age. Osteoporosis screening is recommended in women 65 years and older, and in younger women with a similar risk of fracture. Adults should be immunized at recommended intervals according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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