Items in AFP with MESH term: Physical Examination
ABSTRACT: Acute low back pain is one of the most common reasons for adults to see a family physician. Although most patients recover quickly with minimal treatment, proper evaluation is imperative to identify rare cases of serious underlying pathology. Certain red flags should prompt aggressive treatment or referral to a spine specialist, whereas others are less concerning. Serious red flags include significant trauma related to age (i.e., injury related to a fall from a height or motor vehicle crash in a young patient, or from a minor fall or heavy lifting in a patient with osteoporosis or possible osteoporosis), major or progressive motor or sensory deficit, new-onset bowel or bladder incontinence or urinary retention, loss of anal sphincter tone, saddle anesthesia, history of cancer metastatic to bone, and suspected spinal infection. Without clinical signs of serious pathology, diagnostic imaging and laboratory testing often are not required. Although there are numerous treatments for nonspecific acute low back pain, most have little evidence of benefit. Patient education and medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants are beneficial. Bed rest should be avoided if possible. Exercises directed by a physical therapist, such as the McKenzie method and spine stabilization exercises, may decrease recurrent pain and need for health care services. Spinal manipulation and chiropractic techniques are no more effective than established medical treatments, and adding them to established treatments does not improve outcomes. No substantial benefit has been shown with oral steroids, acupuncture, massage, traction, lumbar supports, or regular exercise programs.
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.
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.
ABSTRACT: High blood pressure in children and adolescents is a growing health problem that is often overlooked by physicians. Normal blood pressure values for children and adolescents are based on age, sex, and height, and are available in standardized tables. Prehypertension is defined as a blood pressure in at least the 90th percentile, but less than the 95th percentile, for age, sex, and height, or a measurement of 120/80 mm Hg or greater. Hypertension is defined as blood pressure in the 95th percentile or greater. A secondary etiology of hypertension is much more likely in children than in adults, with renal parenchymal disease and renovascular disease being the most common. Overweight and obesity are strongly correlated with primary hypertension in children. A history and physical examination are needed for all children with newly diagnosed hypertension to help rule out underlying medical disorders. Children with hypertension should also be screened for other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia, and should be evaluated for target organ damage with a retinal examination and echocardiography. Hypertension in children is treated with lifestyle changes, including weight loss for those who are overweight or obese; a healthy, low-sodium diet; regular physical activity; and avoidance of tobacco and alcohol. Children with symptomatic hypertension, secondary hypertension, target organ damage, diabetes, or persistent hypertension despite nonpharmacologic measures should be treated with antihypertensive medications. Thiazide diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers are safe, effective, and well tolerated in children.
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.