Items in AFP with MESH term: Palliative Care
ABSTRACT: Radiation therapy can be an effective treatment modality for both malignant and benign disease. While radiation can be given as primary treatment, it may also be used pre- or postoperatively, with or without other forms of therapy. Radiation therapy is often curative but is sometimes palliative. There are many methods of delivering radiation effectively. Often, patients tolerate irradiation well without significant complications, and organ function is preserved. To ensure that all patients with cancer have the opportunity to consider all treatment options, family physicians should be aware of the usefulness of radiation therapy.
Managing Pain in the Dying Patient - Article
ABSTRACT: End-of-life care can be a challenge requiring the full range of a family physician's skills. Significant pain is common but is often undertreated despite available medications and technology. Starting with an appropriate assessment and following recommended guidelines on the use of analgesics, family physicians can achieve successful pain relief in nearly 90 percent of dying patients. Physicians must overcome their own fears about using narcotics and allay similar fears in patients, families and communities. Drugs such as corticosteroids, antidepressants and anticonvulsants can also help to alleviate pain. Anticonvulsants can be especially useful in relieving neuropathic pain. Side effects of pain medications should be anticipated and treated promptly, but good pain control should be maintained. The physical, psychologic, social and spiritual needs of dying patients are best managed with a team approach. Home visits can provide comfort and facilitate the doctor-patient relationship at the end of life.
A Daughter Who Won't Let Her Mother Go - Curbside Consultation
Palliative Sedation for a Patient with Terminal Illness - Curbside Consultation
Outpatient Approach to Palpitations - Article
ABSTRACT: Palpitations are a common problem seen in family medicine; most are of cardiac origin, although an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as anxiety, is also common. Even if a psychiatric comorbidity does exist, it should not be assumed that palpitations are of a noncardiac etiology. Discerning cardiac from noncardiac causes is important given the potential risk of sudden death in those with an underlying cardiac etiology. History and physical examination followed by targeted diagnostic testing are necessary to distinguish a cardiac cause from other causes of palpitations. Standard 12-lead electrocardiography is an essential initial diagnostic test. Cardiac imaging is recommended if history, physical examination, or electrocardiography suggests structural heart disease. An intermittent event (loop) monitor is preferred for documenting cardiac arrhythmias, particularly when they occur infrequently. Ventricular and atrial premature contractions are common cardiac causes of palpitations; prognostic significance is dictated by the extent of underlying structural heart disease. Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia resulting in hospitalization; such patients are at increased risk of stroke. Patients with supraventricular tachycardia, long QT syndrome, ventricular tachycardia, or palpitations associated with syncope should be referred to a cardiologist.