ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: The diagnosis and treatment of syphilis can present difficult dilemmas. Serologic tests can be negative if they are performed at the stage when lesions are present, and the VDRL test can be negative in patients with late syphilis. Cerebrospinal fluid examination is not required in patients with primary or secondary disease and no neurologic signs or symptoms, but it may be warranted in patients with late latent syphilis or in whom the duration of infection is unknown. Patients with penicillin allergy can be treated with alternative regimens if they have primary or secondary syphilis. Penicillin is the only effective drug for neurosyphilis; oral desensitization should be accomplished before treatment of penicillin-allergic patients. Other dilemmas may be encountered in the treatment of patients who have concurrent human immunodeficiency virus infection.
ABSTRACT: Maternal illness during pregnancy is not uncommon and sometimes requires radiographic imaging for proper diagnosis and treatment. The patient and her physician may be concerned about potential harm to the fetus from radiation exposure. In reality, however, the risks to the developing fetus are quite small. The accepted cumulative dose of ionizing radiation during pregnancy is 5 rad, and no single diagnostic study exceeds this maximum. For example, the amount of exposure to the fetus from a two-view chest x-ray of the mother is only 0.00007 rad. The most sensitive time period for central nervous system teratogenesis is between 10 and 17 weeks of gestation. Nonurgent radiologic testing should be avoided during this time. Rare consequences of prenatal radiation exposure include a slight increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia and, possibly, a very small change in the frequency of genetic mutations. Such exposure is not an indication for pregnancy termination. Appropriate counseling of patients before radiologic studies are performed is critical.
ABSTRACT: Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring is commonly used to assess fetal well-being during labor. Although detection of fetal compromise is one benefit of fetal monitoring, there are also risks, including false-positive tests that may result in unnecessary surgical intervention. Since variable and inconsistent interpretation of fetal heart rate tracings may affect management, a systematic approach to interpreting the patterns is important. The fetal heart rate undergoes constant and minute adjustments in response to the fetal environment and stimuli. Fetal heart rate patterns are classified as reassuring, nonreassuring or ominous. Nonreassuring patterns such as fetal tachycardia, bradycardia and late decelerations with good short-term variability require intervention to rule out fetal acidosis. Ominous patterns require emergency intrauterine fetal resuscitation and immediate delivery. Differentiating between a reassuring and nonreassuring fetal heart rate pattern is the essence of accurate interpretation, which is essential to guide appropriate triage decisions.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Endometriosis - Article
ABSTRACT: Endometriosis is a progressive disease affecting 5 to 10 percent of women. It can cause dyspareunia, dysmenorrhea, low back pain and infertility. A definitive diagnosis can be made only by means of laparoscopy. Medical treatment designed to interfere with ovulation generally provides effective pain relief, but the recurrence rate following cessation of therapy is high, and this type of treatment will not resolve infertility. Surgical treatment improves pregnancy rates and is the preferred initial treatment for infertility caused by endometriosis. Surgery also appears to provide better long-term pain relief than medical treatment. Bilateral oophorectomy and hysterectomy are treatment options for patients with intractable pain, if childbearing is no longer desired.
ABSTRACT: HELLP, a syndrome characterized by hemolysis, elevated liver enzyme levels and a low platelet count, is an obstetric complication that is frequently misdiagnosed at initial presentation. Many investigators consider the syndrome to be a variant of preeclampsia, but it may be a separate entity. The pathogenesis of HELLP syndrome remains unclear. Early diagnosis is critical because the morbidity and mortality rates associated with the syndrome have been reported to be as high as 25 percent. Platelet count appears to be the most reliable indicator of the presence of HELLP syndrome. The D-dimer test may be a useful tool for the early identification of patients with preeclampsia who may develop severe HELLP syndrome. The mainstay of therapy is supportive management, including seizure prophylaxis and blood pressure control in patients with hypertension. Women remote from term should be considered for conservative management, whereas those at term should be delivered. Some patients require transfusion of blood products, and most benefit from corticosteroid therapy. Rarely, patients with refractory HELLP syndrome require plasmapheresis.
ABSTRACT: Women experience depression twice as often as men. The diagnostic criteria for depression are the same for both sexes, but women with depression more frequently experience guilt, anxiety, increased appetite and sleep, weight gain and comorbid eating disorders. Women may achieve higher plasma concentrations of antidepressants and thus may require lower dosages of these medications. Depending on the patient's age, the potential effects of antidepressants on a fetus or neonate may need to be considered. Research indicates no increased teratogenic risk from in utero exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants. SSRIs are effective in treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder and many comorbid conditions associated with depression in women. Psychotherapy may be used alone in women with mild to moderate depression, or it may be used adjunctively with antidepressant drug therapy. Women who have severe depression accompanied by active suicidal thoughts or plans should usually be managed in conjunction with a psychiatrist.
Parvovirus B19 Infections - Article
ABSTRACT: Infections caused by human parvovirus B19 can result in a wide spectrum of manifestations, which are usually influenced by the patient's immunologic and hematologic status. In the normal host, parvovirus infection can be asymptomatic or can result in erythema infectiosum or arthropathy. Patients with underlying hematologic and immunologic disorders who become infected with this virus are at risk for aplastic anemia. Hydrops fetalis and fetal death are complications of intrauterine parvovirus B19 infection.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians are often asked to advise patients who are preparing to travel. The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 has enabled more passengers with medical disabilities to choose air travel. All domestic U.S. airlines are required to carry basic (but often limited) medical equipment, although several physiologic stresses associated with flight may predispose travelers with underlying medical conditions to require emergency care. Recommendations for passengers with respiratory, cardiac or postsurgical conditions must be individualized and should be based on objective testing measures. Specific advice for patients with diabetes, postsurgical or otolaryngologic conditions may make air travel less hazardous for these persons. Air travel should be delayed after scuba diving to minimize the chance of developing decompression sickness. Although no quick cure for jet lag exists, several simple suggestions may make travel across time zones more comfortable.
Cervical Cancer - Article
ABSTRACT: Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide, after breast cancer. A preponderance of evidence supports a causal link between human papillomavirus infection and cervical neoplasia. The presence of high-risk human papillomavirus genital subtypes increases the risk of malignant transformation. Widespread use of the Papanicolaou smear has dramatically reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in developed countries. Accurate and early recognition of abnormal cytologic changes prevents progression of the disease from preinvasive to invasive. Research is under way to determine if efforts to reduce the false-negative rate of the Papanicolaou smear should include rescreening programs and fluid-based technology. Once cervical cancer is diagnosed, clinical staging takes place. Early-stage tumors can be managed with cone biopsy or simple hysterectomy. Higher stage tumors can be treated surgically or with radiotherapy. Advanced metastatic disease may respond to radiation therapy and concurrent chemotherapy. Protein markers for detection of recurrence and vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer are under investigation.
Ectopic Pregnancy - Article
ABSTRACT: Ectopic pregnancy occurs at a rate of 19.7 cases per 1,000 pregnancies in North America and is a leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester. Greater awareness of risk factors and improved technology (biochemical markers and ultrasonography) allow ectopic pregnancy to be identified before the development of life-threatening events. The evaluation may include a combination of determination of urine and serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels, serum progesterone levels, ultrasonography, culdocentesis and laparoscopy. Key to the diagnosis is determination of the presence or absence of an intrauterine gestational sac correlated with quantitative serum beta-subunit hCG (beta-hCG) levels. An ectopic pregnancy should be suspected if transvaginal ultrasonography shows no intrauterine gestational sac when the beta-hCG level is higher than 1,500 mlU per mL (1,500 IU per L). If the beta-hCG level plateaus or fails to double in 48 hours and the ultrasound examination fails to identify an intrauterine gestational sac, uterine curettage may determine the presence or absence of chorionic villi. Although past treatment consisted of an open laparotomy and salpingectomy, current laparoscopic techniques for unruptured ectopic pregnancy emphasize tubal preservation. Other treatment options include the use of methotrexate therapy for small, unruptured ectopic pregnancies in hemodynamically stable patients. Expectant management may have a role when beta-hCG levels are low and declining.