Items in AFP with MESH term: Referral and Consultation

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Early Diagnosis of Dementia - Article

ABSTRACT: Until recently, the most significant issue facing a family physician regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dementia was ruling out delirium and potentially treatable etiologies. However, as more treatment options become available, it will become increasingly important to diagnose dementia early. Dementia may be suspected if memory deficits are exhibited during the medical history and physical examination. Information from the patient's family members, friends and caregivers may also point to signs of dementia. Distinguishing among age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease may be difficult and requires evaluation of cognitive and functional status. Careful medical evaluation to exclude treatable causes of cognitive impairment is important. Patients with early dementia may benefit from formal neuropsychologic testing to aid in medical and social decision-making. Follow-up by the patient's family physician is appropriate in most patients. However, a subspecialist may be helpful in the diagnosis and management of patients with dementia with an unusual presentation or following an atypical course.


Fingertip Injuries - Article

ABSTRACT: The family physician often provides the first and only medical intervention for fingertip injuries. Proper diagnosis and management of fingertip injuries are vital to maintaining proper function of the hand and preventing permanent disability. A subungual hematoma is a painful condition that involves bleeding beneath the nail, usually after trauma. Treatment requires subungual decompression, which is achieved by creating small holes in the nail. A nail bed laceration is treated by removing the nail and suturing the injured nail bed. Closed fractures of the distal phalanx may require reduction but usually are minimally displaced and stable, and can be splinted. Open or intra-articular fractures of the distal phalanx may warrant referral. Patients with mallet finger cannot extend the distal interphalangeal joint because of a disruption of the extensor mechanism. Radiographs help to differentiate between tendinous and bony mallet types. Most mallet finger injuries heal with six to eight weeks of splinting, but some require referral. Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion always requires referral. Dislocations of the distal interphalangeal joint are rare and usually occur dorsally.


Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: Review and Current Concepts - Article

ABSTRACT: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is present in 2 to 4 percent of children between 10 and 16 years of age. It is defined as a lateral curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees accompanied by vertebral rotation. It is thought to be a multigene dominant condition with variable phenotypic expression. Scoliosis can be identified by the Adam's forward bend test during physical examination. Severe pain, a left thoracic curve or an abnormal neurologic examination are red flags that point to a secondary cause for spinal deformity. Specialty consultation and magnetic resonance imaging are needed if red flags are present. Of adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis, only 10 percent have curves that progress and require medical intervention. The main risk factors for curve progression are a large curve magnitude, skeletal immaturity and female gender. The likelihood of curve progression can be estimated by measuring the curve magnitude using the Cobb method on radiographs and by assessing skeletal growth potential using Tanner staging and Risser grading.


Evaluation and Treatment of ADHD - Article

ABSTRACT: Symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are present in as many as 9 percent of school-age children. ADHD-specific questionnaires can help determine whether children meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder. The recommended evaluation also includes documenting the type and severity of ADHD symptoms, verifying the presence of normal vision and hearing, screening for comorbid psychologic conditions, reviewing the child's developmental history and school performance, and applying objective measures of cognitive function. The stimulants methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine remain the pharmacologic agents of first choice for the management of ADHD. These agents are equally effective in improving the core symptoms of the disorder, but individual children may respond better to one stimulant medication than to another. Achievement of maximal benefit may require titration of the initial dosage and dosing before breakfast, before lunch and in the afternoon. The family physician should tailor the treatment plan to meet the unique needs of the child and family. Psychosocial, behavioral and educational strategies that enhance specific behaviors may improve educational and social functioning in the child with ADHD.


Electrosurgery for the Skin - Article

ABSTRACT: The purposes of electrosurgery are to destroy benign and malignant lesions, control bleeding, and cut or excise tissue. The major modalities in electrosurgery are electrodesiccation, fulguration, electrocoagulation, and electrosection. Electrosurgery can be used for incisional techniques that produce full-thickness excision of nevi, for shave techniques that produce partial-thickness removal of superficial lesions, and for removing vascular lesions such as hemangiomas or pyogenic granulomas. The correct output power can be determined by starting low and increasing the power until the desired outcome is attained (destruction, coagulation, or cutting). Smaller cherry angiomas can be electrocoagulated lightly. Larger cherry angiomas may be easier to treat by shaving them first, then electrocoagulating or desiccating the base. The elevated portion of pyogenic granulomas can be shaved off with a scalpel or a loop electrode using a cutting/coagulation current. The base of the lesion is curetted to remove the remaining tissue and then electrodesiccated. Complications such as burns, shocks, and transmission of infection can be prevented by careful use of the electrosurgical equipment.


Radiologic Imaging in the Management of Sinusitis - Article

ABSTRACT: Sinusitis is one of the most common diseases treated by primary care physicians. Uncomplicated sinusitis does not require radiologic imagery. However, when symptoms are recurrent or refractory despite adequate treatment, further diagnostic evaluations may be indicated. Plain radiography has a limited role in the management of sinusitis. Although air-fluid levels and complete opacification of a sinus are more specific for sinusitis, they are only seen in 60 percent of cases. Noncontrast coronal computed tomographic (CT) images can define the nasal anatomy much more precisely. Mucosal thickening, polyps, and other sinus abnormalities can be seen in 40 percent of symptomatic adults; however, clinical correlation is needed to avoid overdiagnosis of sinusitis because of nonspecific CT findings. Use of CT is typically reserved for difficult cases or to define anatomy prior to sinus surgery. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cannot define bony anatomy as well as CT. MRI is only used to differentiate soft-tissue structures, such as in cases of suspected fungal infection or neoplasm. Referral will occasionally be needed in unusual or complicated cases. Immunocompromised persons and smokers are at increased risk for serious sinusitis complications.


Common Dental Emergencies - Article

ABSTRACT: Dental caries, a bacterial disease of teeth characterized by destruction of enamel and dentine, is often the underlying cause of dental pain. When a carious lesion impinges on the dental pulp, pulpitis follows and, ultimately, necrosis of the pulp occurs. Untreated necrosis may lead to a localized abscess or a spreading infection into the surrounding soft tissue that results in cellulitis. Immediate treatment involves antibiotic therapy for cellulitis, perhaps with drainage of abscesses, while definitive treatment requires root canal therapy or extraction of the involved tooth. Pericoronitis is an inflammation of the soft tissue overlying a partially erupted tooth. Localized cases respond to irrigation. Secondary cellulitis can develop. Definitive treatment may require surgical extraction of the underlying tooth or excision of the gum flap. Avulsion of a permanent tooth secondary to trauma is a true dental emergency. The tooth should be reimplanted on the spot, and the patient should be seen immediately by a dentist for splinting and antibiotic prophylaxis. Most dental problems can be prevented with regular dental care and steps to minimize risks of oral trauma.


Prevention and Treatment of Common Eye Injuries in Sports - Article

ABSTRACT: Sports have become increasingly popular and account for numerous eye injuries each year. The sports that most commonly cause eye injuries, in order of decreasing frequency, are basketball, water sports, baseball, and racquet sports. Sports are classified as low risk, high risk, and very high risk. Sports-related eye injuries are blunt, penetrating, and radiation injuries. The use of eye protection has helped to reduce the number and severity of eye injuries. The American Society for Testing and Materials has established performance standards for selected eyewear. Consultation with an eye care professional is recommended for fitting protective eyewear. The functionally one-eyed, or monocular, athlete should take extra precautions. A preparticipation eye examination is helpful in identifying persons who may be at increased risk for eye injury. Sports-related eye injuries should be evaluated on site with an adequate examination of the eye and adnexa. Minor eye injuries may be treated on site. The team physician must know which injuries require immediate referral to an ophthalmologist and the guidelines for returning an athlete to competition.


Failure to Thrive - Article

ABSTRACT: Failure to thrive is a condition commonly seen by primary care physicians. Prompt diagnosis and intervention are important for preventing malnutrition and developmental sequelae. Medical and social factors often contribute to failure to thrive. Either extreme of parental attention (neglect or hypervigilance) can lead to failure to thrive. About 25 percent of normal infants will shift to a lower growth percentile in the first two years of life and then follow that percentile; this should not be diagnosed as failure to thrive. Infants with Down syndrome, intrauterine growth retardation, or premature birth follow different growth patterns than normal infants. Many infants with failure to thrive are not identified unless careful attention is paid to plotting growth parameters at routine checkups. A thorough history is the best guide to establishing the etiology of the failure to thrive and directing further evaluation and management. All children with failure to thrive need additional calories for catch-up growth (typically 150 percent of the caloric requirement for their expected, not actual, weight). Few need laboratory evaluation. Hospitalization is rarely required and is indicated only for severe failure to thrive and for those whose safety is a concern. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended when failure to thrive persists despite intervention or when it is severe.


HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral - Article

ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, the annual number of new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has been relatively stable but remains unacceptably high (an estimated 40,000 new cases per year). Furthermore, the demographics for HIV infection are changing. Rates of new infections are declining in newborns, older men who have sex with men, and whites. However, rates of new infections are rising in young persons, women, Hispanics, and blacks. In 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued revised guidelines for HIV counseling, testing, and referral. The guidelines focus on the reduction of barriers to testing, voluntary routine testing of high-risk populations and persons with risk factors, case management and partner tracing for infected persons, and universal testing of pregnant women. Effective strategies for reducing HIV infection include behavioral interventions, comprehensive school-based HIV and sex education, access to sterile drug equipment, screening of the blood supply, and postexposure prophylaxis for health care workers.


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