Items in AFP with MESH term: Physical Examination

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Lymphadenopathy and Malignancy - Article

ABSTRACT: The majority of patients presenting with peripheral lymphadenopathy have easily identifiable causes that are benign or self-limited. Among primary care patients presenting with lymphadenopathy, the prevalence of malignancy has been estimated to be as low as 1.1 percent. The critical challenge for the primary care physician is to identify which cases are secondary to malignancies or other serious conditions. Key risk factors for malignancy include older age, firm, fixed nodal character, duration of greater than two weeks, and supraclavicular location. Knowledge of these risk factors is critical to determining the management of unexplained lymphadenopathy. In addition, a complete exposure history, review of associated symptoms, and a thorough regional examination help determine whether lymphadenopathy is of benign or malignant origin. Unexplained lymphadenopathy without signs or symptoms of serious disease or malignancy can be observed for one month, after which specific testing or biopsy should be performed. While modern hematopathologic technologies have improved the diagnostic yields of fine-needle aspiration, excisional biopsy remains the initial diagnostic procedure of choice. The overall evaluation of lymphadenopathy, with a focus on findings suggestive of malignancy, as well as an approach to the patient with unexplained lymphadenopathy, will be reviewed.


Acute Abdominal Pain in Children - Article

ABSTRACT: Acute abdominal pain in children presents a diagnostic dilemma. Although many cases of acute abdominal pain are benign, some require rapid diagnosis and treatment to minimize morbidity. Numerous disorders can cause abdominal pain. The most common medical cause is gastroenteritis, and the most common surgical cause is appendicitis. In most instances, abdominal pain can be diagnosed through the history and physical examination. Age is a key factor in evaluating the cause; the incidence and symptoms of different conditions vary greatly over the pediatric age spectrum. In the acute surgical abdomen, pain generally precedes vomiting, while the reverse is true in medical conditions. Diarrhea often is associated with gastroenteritis or food poisoning. Appendicitis should be suspected in any child with pain in the right lower quadrant. Signs that suggest an acute surgical abdomen include involuntary guarding or rigidity, marked abdominal distention, marked abdominal tenderness, and rebound abdominal tenderness. If the diagnosis is not clear after the initial evaluation, repeated physical examination by the same physician often is useful. Selected imaging studies also might be helpful. Surgical consultation is necessary if a surgical cause is suspected or the cause is not obvious after a thorough evaluation.


Evaluation and Treatment of Women with Hirsutism - Article

ABSTRACT: Hirsutism is a common disorder, often resulting from conditions that are not life-threatening. It may signal more serious clinical pathology, and clinical evaluation should differentiate benign causes from tumors or other conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, late-onset adrenal hyperplasia, and Cushing's syndrome. Laboratory testing should be based on the patient's history and physical findings, but screening for levels of serum testosterone and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone is sufficient in most cases. Women with irregular menses and hirsutism should be screened for thyroid dysfunction and prolactin disorders. Pharmacologic and/or nonpharmacologic treatments may be used. Advances in laser hair removal methods and topical hair growth retardants offer new options. The use of insulin-sensitizing agents may be useful in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.


The Abnormal Fontanel - Article

ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of an abnormal fontanel requires an understanding of the wide variation of normal. At birth, an infant has six fontanels. The anterior fontanel is the largest and most important for clinical evaluation. The average size of the anterior fontanel is 2.1 cm, and the median time of closure is 13.8 months. The most common causes of a large anterior fontanel or delayed fontanel closure are achondroplasia, hypothyroidism, Down syndrome, increased intracranial pressure, and rickets. A bulging anterior fontanel can be a result of increased intracranial pressure or intracranial and extracranial tumors, and a sunken fontanel usually is a sign of dehydration. A physical examination helps the physician determine which imaging modality, such as plain films, ultrasonography, computed tomographic scan, or magnetic resonance imaging, to use for diagnosis.


Evaluation of Patients Presenting with Knee Pain: Part I. History, Physical Examination, Radiographs, and Laboratory Tests - Article

ABSTRACT: Family physicians frequently encounter patients with knee pain. Accurate diagnosis requires a knowledge of knee anatomy, common pain patterns in knee injuries, and features of frequently encountered causes of knee pain, as well as specific physical examination skills. The history should include characteristics of the patient's pain, mechanical symptoms (locking, popping, giving way), joint effusion (timing, amount, recurrence), and mechanism of injury. The physical examination should include careful inspection of the knee, palpation for point tenderness, assessment of joint effusion, range-of-motion testing, evaluation of ligaments for injury or laxity, and assessment of the menisci. Radiographs should be obtained in patients with isolated patellar tenderness or tenderness at the head of the fibula, inability to bear weight or flex the knee to 90 degrees, or age greater than 55 years.


Fever in the Returned Traveler - Article

ABSTRACT: With the rising popularity of international travel to exotic locations, family physicians are encountering more febrile patients who recently have visited tropical countries. In the majority of cases, the fever is caused by a common illness such as tracheobronchitis, pneumonia, or urinary tract infection. However, fever in returned travelers always should raise suspicion for a severe or potentially life-threatening tropical infection. In addition to the usual medical history, physicians should obtain a careful travel history, a description of accommodations, information about pretravel immunizations or chemoprophylaxis during travel, a sexual history, and a list of exposures and risk factors. The extent and type of lymphadenopathy are important diagnostic clues. Altered mental status with fever is an alarm symptom and requires urgent evaluation and treatment. Malaria must be considered in patients who traveled even briefly within an endemic area. Enteric fever is treated with fluoroquinolones, dengue fever with supportive measures only, leptospirosis with penicillin or doxycycline, and rickettsial infections with doxycycline.


Acute Dyspnea in the Office - Article

ABSTRACT: Respiratory difficulty is a common presenting complaint in the outpatient primary care setting. Because patients may first seek care by calling their physician's office, telephone triage plays a role in the early management of dyspnea. Once the patient is in the office, the initial goal of assessment is to determine the severity of the dyspnea with respect to the need for oxygenation and intubation. Unstable patients typically present with abnormal vital signs, altered mental status, hypoxia, or unstable arrhythmia, and require supplemental oxygen, intravenous access and, possibly, intubation. Subsequent management depends on the differential diagnosis established by a proper history, physical examination, and ancillary studies. Dyspnea is most commonly caused by respiratory and cardiac disorders. Other causes may be upper airway obstruction, metabolic acidosis, a psychogenic disorder, or a neuromuscular condition. Differential diagnoses in children include bronchiolitis, croup, epiglottitis, and foreign body aspiration. Pertinent history findings include cough, sore throat, chest pain, edema, and orthopnea. The physical examination should focus on vital signs and the heart, lungs, neck, and lower extremities. Significant physical signs are fever, rales, wheezing, cyanosis, stridor, or absent breath sounds. Diagnostic work-up includes pulse oximetry, complete blood count, electrocardiography, and chest radiography. If the patient is admitted to the emergency department or hospital, blood gases, ventilation-perfusion scan, D-dimer tests, and spiral computed tomography can help clarify the diagnosis. In a stable patient, management depends on the underlying etiology of the dyspnea.


Diagnostic Approach to Tinnitus - Article

ABSTRACT: Tinnitus is a common disorder with many possible causes. Most cases of tinnitus are subjective, but occasionally the tinnitus can be heard by an examiner. Otologic problems, especially hearing loss, are the most common causes of subjective tinnitus. Common causes of conductive hearing loss include external ear infection, cerumen impaction, and middle ear effusion. Sensorineural hearing loss may be caused by exposure to excessive loud noise, presbycusis, ototoxic medications, or Meniere's disease. Unilateral hearing loss plus tinnitus should increase suspicion for acoustic neuroma. Subjective tinnitus also may be caused by neurologic, metabolic, or psychogenic disorders. Objective tinnitus usually is caused by vascular abnormalities of the carotid artery or jugular venous systems. Initial evaluation of tinnitus should include a thorough history, head and neck examination, and audiometric testing to identify an underlying etiology. Unilateral or pulsatile tinnitus may be caused by more serious pathology and typically merits specialized audiometric testing and radiologic studies. In patients who are discomforted by tinnitus and have no remediable cause, auditory masking may provide some relief.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children - Article

ABSTRACT: Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing is common in children. From 3 percent to 12 percent of children snore, while obstructive sleep apnea syndrome affects 1 percent to 10 percent of children. The majority of these children have mild symptoms, and many outgrow the condition. Consequences of untreated obstructive sleep apnea include failure to thrive, enuresis, attention-deficit disorder, behavior problems, poor academic performance, and cardiopulmonary disease. The most common etiology of obstructive sleep apnea is adenotonsillar hypertrophy. Clinical diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is reliable; however, the gold standard evaluation is overnight polysomnography. Treatment includes the use of continuous positive airway pressure and weight loss in obese children. These alternatives are tolerated poorly in children and rarely are considered primary therapy. Adenotonsillectomy is curative in most patients. Children with craniofacial syndromes, neuromuscular diseases, medical comorbidities, or severe obstructive sleep apnea, and those younger than three years are at increased risk of developing postoperative complications and should be monitored overnight in the hospital.


Hand and Wrist Injuries: Part II. Emergent Evaluation - Article

ABSTRACT: Primary care physicians must be able to recognize wrist and hand injuries that require immediate attention. A complete history and physical examination, including assessment of distal limb function, are essential. Hemorrhage control is necessary in patients with vessel lacerations and amputations. Amputations require an understanding of the indications and contraindications in the management of the amputated limb. High-pressure injection injuries and compartment syndromes require a high index of suspicion for early recognition. Infectious entities include "fight bite," open fractures, purulent tenosynovitis, animal bites, and retained foreign bodies. Tendon disruptions should be recognized early to optimize management.


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