Items in AFP with MESH term: Physical Examination
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.
The Evaluation of Common Breast Problems - Article
ABSTRACT: The most common breast problems for which women consult a physician are breast pain, nipple discharge and a palpable mass. Most women with these complaints have benign breast disease. Breast pain alone is rarely a presenting symptom of cancer, and imaging studies should be reserved for use in women who fall within usual screening guidelines. A nipple discharge can be characterized as physiologic or pathologic based on the findings of the history and physical examination. A pathologic discharge is an indication for terminal duct excision. A dominant breast mass requires histologic diagnosis. A breast cyst can be diagnosed and treated by aspiration. The management of a solid mass depends on the degree of clinical suspicion and the patient's age.
ABSTRACT: Acute low back pain is commonly encountered in primary care practice but the specific cause often cannot be identified. This ailment has a benign course in 90 percent of patients. Recurrences and functional limitations can be minimized with appropriate conservative management, including medications, physical therapy modalities, exercise and patient education. Radiographs and laboratory tests are generally unnecessary, except in the few patients in whom a serious cause is suspected based on a comprehensive history and physical examination. Serious causes that need to be considered include infection, malignancy, rheumatologic diseases and neurologic disorders. Patients with suspected cauda equina lesions should undergo immediate surgical investigation. Surgical evaluation is also indicated in patients with worsening neurologic deficits or intractable pain that is resistant to conservative treatment. The current recommendation is two or three days of bed rest for patients with acute radiculopathy. The treatment plan should be reassessed in patients who do not return to normal activity within four to six weeks.
ABSTRACT: Knee effusions may be the result of trauma, overuse or systemic disease. An understanding of knee pathoanatomy is an invaluable part of making the correct diagnosis and formulating a treatment plan. Taking a thorough medical history is the key component of the evaluation. The most common traumatic causes of knee effusion are ligamentous, osseous and meniscal injuries, and overuse syndromes. Atraumatic etiologies include arthritis, infection, crystal deposition and tumor. It is essential to compare the affected knee with the unaffected knee. Systematic physical examination of the knee, using specific maneuvers, and the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging studies and arthrocentesis establish the correct diagnosis and treatment.
ABSTRACT: Swallowing disorders are common, especially in the elderly, and may cause dehydration, weight loss, aspiration pneumonia and airway obstruction. These disorders may affect the oral preparatory, oral propulsive, pharyngeal and/or esophageal phases of swallowing. Impaired swallowing, or dysphagia, may occur because of a wide variety of structural or functional conditions, including stroke, cancer, neurologic disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease. A thorough history and a careful physical examination are important in the diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders. The physical examination should include the neck, mouth, oropharynx and larynx, and a neurologic examination should also be performed. Supplemental studies are usually required. A videofluorographic swallowing study is particularly useful for identifying the pathophysiology of a swallowing disorder and for empirically testing therapeutic and compensatory techniques. Manometry and endoscopy may also be necessary. Disorders of oral and pharyngeal swallowing are usually amenable to rehabilitative measures, which may include dietary modification and training in specific swallowing techniques. Surgery is rarely indicated. In patients with severe disorders, it may be necessary to bypass the oral cavity and pharynx entirely and provide enteral or parenteral nutrition.
Preoperative Evaluation - Article
ABSTRACT: A history and physical examination, focusing on risk factors for cardiac, pulmonary and infectious complications, and a determination of a patient's functional capacity, are essential to any preoperative evaluation. In addition, the type of surgery influences the overall perioperative risk and the need for further cardiac evaluation. Routine laboratory studies are rarely helpful except to monitor known disease states. Patients with good functional capacity do not require preoperative cardiac stress testing in most surgical cases. Unstable angina, myocardial infarction within six weeks and aortic or peripheral vascular surgery place a patient into a high-risk category for perioperative cardiac complications. Patients with respiratory disease may benefit from perioperative use of bronchodilators or steroids. Patients at increased risk of pulmonary complications should receive instruction in deep-breathing exercises or incentive spirometry. Assessment of nutritional status should be performed. An albumin level of less than 3.2 mg per dL (32 g per L) suggests an increased risk of complications. Patients deemed at risk because of compromised nutritional status may benefit from pre- and postoperative nutritional supplementation.
Evaluation of Physical Abuse in Children - Article
ABSTRACT: Family physicians who are involved in the care of children are likely to encounter child abuse and should be able to recognize its common presentations. A history that is inconsistent with the patient's injuries is the hallmark of physical abuse. A pattern of physical findings, including bruises and fractures in areas unlikely to be accidentally injured, patterned bruises from objects, and circumferential burns or bruises in children not yet mobile, should be viewed as suspicious for child abuse. Family physicians who suspect physical abuse are mandated to make a report to the state child protective services agency and to assure the ongoing safety of the child.
ABSTRACT: The differential diagnosis for febrile patients with a rash is extensive. Diseases that present with fever and rash are usually classified according to the morphology of the primary lesion. Rashes can be categorized as maculopapular (centrally and peripherally distributed), petechial, diffusely erythematous with desquamation, vesiculobullous-pustular and nodular. Potential causes include viruses, bacteria, spirochetes, rickettsiae, medications and rheumatologic diseases. A thorough history and a careful physical examination are essential to making a correct diagnosis. Although laboratory studies can be useful in confirming the diagnosis, test results often are not available immediately. Because the severity of these illnesses can vary from minor (roseola) to life-threatening (meningococcemia), the family physician must make prompt management decisions regarding empiric therapy. Hospitalization, isolation and antimicrobial therapy often must be considered when a patient presents with fever and a rash.
The Preparticipation Athletic Evaluation - Article
ABSTRACT: A comprehensive medical history that includes questions about a personal and family history of cardiovascular disease is the most important initial component of the preparticipation athletic evaluation. Additional questions should focus on any history of neurologic or musculoskeletal problems. A limited physical examination should emphasize cardiac auscultation with provocative maneuvers to screen for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition is the most common cause of sudden death in young male athletes. Other components of the physical examination include an evaluation of the spine and extremities. Screening tests such as electrocardiography, treadmill stress testing and urinalysis are not indicated in the absence of symptoms or a significant history of risk factors. Specific conditions that would exclude or limit athletic participation include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, long QT interval syndrome, concussion, significant knee injury, sickle cell disease and uncontrolled seizures. Overall, about 1 percent of athletes who are screened are completely disqualified from sports participation.
ABSTRACT: Early diagnosis and management of the undescended testicle are needed to preserve fertility and improve early detection of testicular malignancy. Physical examination of the testicle can be difficult; consultation should be considered if a normal testis cannot be definitely identified. Observation is not recommended beyond one year of age because it delays treatment, lowers the rate of surgical success and probably impairs spermatogenesis. By six months of age, patients with undescended testicles should be evaluated by a pediatric urologist or other qualified subspecialist who can assist with diagnosis and treatment. Earlier referral may be warranted for bilateral nonpalpable testes in the newborn or for any child with both hypospadias and an undescended testis. Therapy for an undescended testicle should begin between six months and two years of age and may consist of hormone or surgical treatment. The success of either form of treatment depends on the position of the testicle at diagnosis. Recent improvements in surgical technique, including laparoscopic approaches to diagnosis and treatment, hold the promise of improved outcomes. While orchiopexy may not protect patients from developing testicular malignancy, the procedure allows for earlier detection through self-examination of the testicles.