Items in AFP with MESH term: Physical Examination
ABSTRACT: Constipation in children usually is functional and the result of stool retention. However, family physicians must be alert for red flags that may indicate the presence of an uncommon but serious organic cause of constipation, such as Hirschsprung's disease (congenital aganglionic megacolon), pseudo-obstruction, spinal cord abnormality, hypothyroidism, diabetes insipidus, cystic fibrosis, gluten enteropathy, or congenital anorectal malformation. Treatment of functional constipation involves disimpaction using oral or rectal medication. Polyethylene glycol is effective and well tolerated, but a number of alternatives are available. After disimpaction, a maintenance program may be required for months to years because relapse of functional constipation is common. Maintenance medications include mineral oil, lactulose, milk of magnesia, polyethylene glycol powder, and sorbitol. Education of the family and, when possible, the child is instrumental in improving functional constipation. Behavioral education improves response to treatment; biofeedback training does not. Because cow's milk may promote constipation in some children, a trial of withholding milk may be considered. Adding fiber to the diet may improve constipation. Despite treatment, only 50 to 70 percent of children with functional constipation demonstrate long-term improvement.
ABSTRACT: Patients with community-acquired pneumonia often present with cough, fever, chills, fatigue, dyspnea, rigors, and pleuritic chest pain. When a patient presents with suspected community-acquired pneumonia, the physician should first assess the need for hospitalization using a mortality prediction tool, such as the Pneumonia Severity Index, combined with clinical judgment. Consensus guidelines from several organizations recommend empiric therapy with macrolides, fluoroquinolones, or doxycycline. Patients who are hospitalized should be switched from parenteral antibiotics to oral antibiotics after their symptoms improve, they are afebrile, and they are able to tolerate oral medications. Clinical pathways are important tools to improve care and maximize cost-effectiveness in hospitalized patients.
ABSTRACT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterized by the gradual progression of irreversible airflow obstruction and increased inflammation in the airways and lung parenchyma that is generally distinguishable from the inflammation caused by asthma. Most chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with smoking, but occupational exposure to irritants and air pollution also are important risk factors. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease typically present with coughing, sputum production, and dyspnea on exertion. However, none of these findings alone is diagnostic. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease diagnostic criterion for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity ratio of less than 70 percent of the predicted value. Severity is further stratified based on forced expiratory volume in one second and symptoms. Chest radiography may rule out alternative diagnoses and comorbid conditions. Selected patients should be tested for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency. Arterial blood gas testing is recommended for patients presenting with signs of severe disease, right-sided heart failure, or significant hypoxemia. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also is a systemic disorder with weight loss and dysfunction of respiratory and skeletal muscles.
ABSTRACT: Preterm premature rupture of membranes is the rupture of membranes during pregnancy before 37 weeks' gestation. It occurs in 3 percent of pregnancies and is the cause of approximately one third of preterm deliveries. It can lead to significant perinatal morbidity, including respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal sepsis, umbilical cord prolapse, placental abruption, and fetal death. Appropriate evaluation and management are important for improving neonatal outcomes. Speculum examination to determine cervical dilation is preferred because digital examination is associated with a decreased latent period and with the potential for adverse sequelae. Treatment varies depending on gestational age and includes consideration of delivery when rupture of membranes occurs at or after 34 weeks' gestation. Corticosteroids can reduce many neonatal complications, particularly intraventricular hemorrhage and respiratory distress syndrome, and antibiotics are effective for increasing the latency period.
Amenorrhea: Evaluation and Treatment - Article
ABSTRACT: A thorough history and physical examination as well as laboratory testing can help narrow the differential diagnosis of amenorrhea. In patients with primary amenorrhea, the presence or absence of sexual development should direct the evaluation. Constitutional delay of growth and puberty commonly causes primary amenorrhea in patients with no sexual development. If the patient has normal pubertal development and a uterus, the most common etiology is congenital outflow tract obstruction with a transverse vaginal septum or imperforate hymen. If the patient has abnormal uterine development, mÃ¼llerian agenesis is the likely cause and a karyotype analysis should confirm that the patient is 46,XX. If a patient has secondary amenorrhea, pregnancy should be ruled out. The treatment of primary and secondary amenorrhea is based on the causative factor. Treatment goals include prevention of complications such as osteoporosis, endometrial hyperplasia, and heart disease; preservation of fertility; and, in primary amenorrhea, progression of normal pubertal development.
ABSTRACT: Peripheral vascular disease is a manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis that leads to significant narrowing of arteries distal to the arch of the aorta. The most common symptom of peripheral vascular disease is intermittent claudication. At other times, peripheral vascular disease leads to acute or critical limb ischemia. Intermittent claudication manifests as pain in the muscles of the legs with exercise; it is experienced by 2 percent of persons older than 65 years. Physical findings include abnormal pedal pulses, femoral artery bruit, delayed venous filling time, cool skin, and abnormal skin color. Most patients present with subtle findings and lack classic symptoms, which makes the diagnosis difficult. The standard office-based test to determine the presence of peripheral vascular disease is calculation of the ankle-brachial index. Magnetic resonance arteriography, duplex scanning, and hemodynamic localization are noninvasive methods for lesion localization and may be helpful when symptoms or findings do not correlate with the ankle-brachial index. Contrast arteriography is used for definitive localization before intervention. Treatment is divided into lifestyle, medical, and surgical therapies. Lifestyle therapies focus on exercise, smoking cessation, and dietary modification. Medical therapy is directed at reducing platelet aggregation. In addition, patients with contributing disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia need to have these conditions managed as aggressively as possible. Surgical therapies include stents, arterectomies, angioplasty, and bypass surgery.
ABSTRACT: Musculoskeletal pain can be difficult for children to characterize. Primary care physicians must determine whether the pain may be caused by a systemic disease. Change in activity, constitutional symptoms such as fevers and fatigue, or abnormal examination findings without obvious etiology should raise suspicion for rheumatic disease. A complete physical examination should be performed to look for extra-articular signs of rheumatic disease, focusing on but not limited to the affected areas. A logical and consistent approach to diagnosis is recommended, with judicious use of laboratory and radiologic testing. Complete blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate measurement are useful if rheumatic disease is suspected. Other rheumatologic tests (e.g., antinuclear antibody) have a low pretest probability in the primary care setting and must be interpreted cautiously. Plain radiography can exclude fractures or malignancy; computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are more sensitive in detecting joint inflammation. Family physicians should refer children to a subspecialist when the diagnosis is in question or subspecialty treatment is required. Part II of this series discusses rheumatic diseases that present primarily with musculoskeletal pain in children, including juvenile arthritis, the spondyloarthropathies, acute rheumatic fever, Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is one of the most significant health concerns in the United States. Recent reviews have questioned the value of traditional breast cancer screening methods. Breast self-examination has been shown not to improve cancer-specific or all-cause mortality in large studies, but it is commonly advocated as a noninvasive screen. Patients who choose to perform self-examination should be trained in appropriate technique and follow-up. The contribution of the clinical breast examination to early detection is difficult to determine, but studies show that sensitivity is highly dependent on time taken to do the examination. Up to 10 percent of cancers are mammographically silent but evident on clinical breast examination. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammography for women older than 40 years who are in good health, but physicians should consider that sensitivity is lower for younger women. Digital mammography is somewhat more sensitive in younger women and women with dense breasts, but outcome studies are lacking. Although magnetic resonance imaging shows promise as a screening tool in some high-risk women, it is not currently recommended for general screening because of high false-positive rates and cost. The American Cancer Society recommends annual magnetic resonance imaging as an adjunct to screening mammography in high-risk women 30 years and older.
ABSTRACT: Most children will have been evaluated for a febrile illness by 36 months of age. Although the majority will have a self-limited viral illness, studies done before the use of Haemophilus influenzae type b and Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccines showed that approximately 10 percent of children younger than 36 months without evident sources of fever had occult bacteremia and serious bacterial infection. More recent studies have found lower rates of bacterial infection (1.6 to 1.8 percent). Any infant younger than 29 days and any child that appears toxic should undergo a complete sepsis work-up. However, nontoxic-appearing children one to 36 months of age, who have a fever with no apparent source and who have received the appropriate vaccinations, could undergo screening laboratory analysis and be sent home with close follow-up. Empiric intramuscular antibiotics are suggested for some children; however, cerebrospinal fluid studies should be obtained first. Because immunizations have recently decreased infection rates for S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae type b, the recommendations for evaluation and treatment of febrile children are evolving and could involve fewer tests and less-presumptive treatment in the future. A cautious approach should still be taken based on the potential for adverse consequences of unrecognized and untreated serious bacterial infection.
Evaluation of Nausea and Vomiting - Article
ABSTRACT: A comprehensive history and physical examination can often reveal the cause of nausea and vomiting, making further evaluation unnecessary. Acute symptoms generally are the result of infectious, inflammatory, or iatrogenic causes. Most infections are self-limiting and require minimal intervention; iatrogenic causes can be resolved by removing the offending agent. Chronic symptoms are usually a pathologic response to any of a variety of conditions. Gastrointestinal etiologies include obstruction, functional disorders, and organic diseases. Central nervous system etiologies are primarily related to conditions that increase intracranial pressure, and typically cause other neurologic signs. Pregnancy is the most common endocrinologic cause of nausea and must be considered in any woman of childbearing age. Numerous metabolic abnormalities and psychiatric diagnoses also may cause nausea and vomiting. Evaluation should first focus on detecting any emergencies or complications that require hospitalization. Attention should then turn to identifying the underlying cause and providing specific therapies. When the cause cannot be determined, empiric therapy with an antiemetic is appropriate. Initial diagnostic testing should generally be limited to basic laboratory tests and plain radiography. Further testing, such as upper endoscopy or computed tomography of the abdomen, should be determined by clinical suspicion based on a complete history and physical examination.