Items in AFP with MESH term: Neuromuscular Diseases
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.
Evaluation of the Acutely Limping Child - Article
ABSTRACT: A limp may be defined as any asymmetric deviation from a normal gait pattern. The differential diagnosis of a limp includes trauma, infection, neoplasia and inflammatory, congenital, neuromuscular or developmental disorders. Initially, a broad differential diagnosis should be considered to avoid overlooking less common conditions such as diskitis or psoas abscess. In any patient with a complaint of knee or thigh pain, an underlying hip condition should be considered. The patient's age can further narrow the differential diagnosis, because certain disease entities are age-specific. Vigilance is warranted in conditions requiring emergent treatment such as septic hip. The challenge to the family physician is to identify the cause of the limp and determine if further observation or immediate diagnostic work-up is indicated.
Evaluating Dysphagia - Article
ABSTRACT: Dysphagia is a problem that commonly affects patients cared for by family physicians in the office, as hospital inpatients and as nursing home residents. Familiar medical problems, including cerebrovascular accidents, gastroesophageal reflux disease and medication-related side effects, often lead to complaints of dysphagia. Stroke patients are at particular risk of aspiration because of dysphagia. Classifying dysphagia as oropharyngeal, esophageal and obstructive, or neuromuscular symptom complexes leads to a successful diagnosis in 80 to 85 percent of patients. Based on the patient history and physical examination, barium esophagram and/or gastroesophageal endoscopy can confirm the diagnosis. Special studies and consultation with subspecialists can confirm difficult diagnoses and help guide treatment strategies.