Items in AFP with MESH term: Referral and Consultation
Genetic Testing: When to Test, When to Refer - Editorials
Improving Physical Therapy Referrals - Editorials
Making Psychotherapy Work in Primary Care Medicine - Editorials
Improving Outpatient Referrals to Secondary Care - Cochrane for Clinicians
ABSTRACT: Solitary pulmonary nodules are common radiologic findings, typically discovered incidentally through chest radiography or computed tomography of the neck, chest, and abdomen. Primary care physicians must decide how to pursue an evaluation of a nodule once it has been identified. The differential diagnosis for pulmonary nodules includes benign and malignant causes. Diameter of 8 mm or more, "ground-glass" density, irregular borders, and doubling time between one month and one year suggest malignancy. The American College of Chest Physicians recently released guidelines for the evaluation of solitary pulmonary nodules, based primarily on nodule size and patient risk factors for cancer. Algorithms for the evaluation of lesions smaller than 8 mm and those 8 mm or greater recommend different imaging follow-up regimens. Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography can be used to aid decision making when cancer pretest probability and imaging results are discordant. Any patient with evidence of a nodule with notable growth during follow-up should undergo biopsy for identification. The rationale for closely monitoring an incidentally found pulmonary lesion is that detection and treatment of early lung cancer might lead to decreased morbidity and mortality.
ABSTRACT: Hematospermia can be a distressing symptom for patients, but most cases are effectively managed by a primary care physician. Although the condition is usually benign, significant underlying pathology must be excluded by history, physical examination, laboratory evaluation, and, in select cases, other diagnostic modalities. In men younger than 40 years without risk factors (e.g., history of cancer, known urogenital malformation, bleeding disorders) and in men with no associated symptoms, hematospermia is often self-limited and requires no further evaluation or treatment other than patient reassurance. Many cases are attributable to sexually transmitted infections or other urogenital infections in men younger than 40 years who present with hematospermia associated with lower urinary tract symptoms. Workup in these patients can be limited to urinalysis and testing for sexually transmitted infections, with treatment as indicated. In men 40 years and older, iatrogenic hematospermia from urogenital instrumentation or prostate biopsy is the most common cause of blood in the semen. However, recurrent or persistent hematospermia or associated symptoms (e.g., fever, chills, weight loss, bone pain) should prompt further investigation, starting with a prostate examination and prostate-specific antigen testing to evaluate for prostate cancer. Other etiologies to consider in those 40 years and older include genitourinary infections, inflammations, vascular malformations, stones, tumors, and systemic disorders that increase bleeding risk.
ABSTRACT: Cervical radiculopathy is a disease process marked by nerve compression from herniated disk material or arthritic bone spurs. This impingement typically produces neck and radiating arm pain or numbness, sensory deficits, or motor dysfunction in the neck and upper extremities. Magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomographic myelography can confirm neurologic compression. The overall prognosis of persons with cervical radiculopathy is favorable. Most patients improve over time with a focused, nonoperative treatment course. There is little high-quality evidence on the best nonoperative therapy for cervical radiculopathy. Cervical collars may be used for a short period of immobilization, and traction may temporarily decompress nerve impingement. Medications may help alleviate pain and neuropathic symptoms. Physical therapy and manipulation may improve neck discomfort, and selective nerve blocks target nerve root pain. Although the effectiveness of individual treatments is controversial, a multimodal approach may benefit patients with cervical radiculopathy and associated neck pain.
ABSTRACT: Although it is important to begin the evaluation of generalized rash with an inclusive differential diagnosis, the possibilities must be narrowed down by taking a focused history and looking for key clinical features of the rash. Part I of this two-part article lists the common, uncommon, and rare causes of generalized rashes. In part II, the clinical features that help distinguish these rashes are described. These features include key elements of the history (e.g., travel, environmental exposures, personal or family history of atopy); characteristics of individual lesions, such as color, size, shape, and scale; areas of involvement and sparing, with particular attention to palms, soles, face, nails, sun-exposed areas, and extensor and flexor surfaces of extremities; pruritic or painful lesions; systemic symptoms, especially fever; and dermatologic signs, such as blanching, and the Koebner phenomenon.
ABSTRACT: Physicians often have difficulty diagnosing a generalized rash because many different conditions produce similar rashes, and a single condition can result in different rashes with varied appearances. A rapid and accurate diagnosis is critically important to make treatment decisions, especially when mortality or significant morbidity can occur without prompt intervention. When a specific diagnosis is not immediately apparent, it is important to generate an inclusive differential diagnosis to guide diagnostic strategy and initial treatment. In part I of this two-part article, tables listing common, uncommon, and rare causes of generalized rash are presented to help generate an inclusive differential diagnosis. The tables describe the key clinical features and recommended tests to help accurately diagnose generalized rashes. If the diagnosis remains unclear, the primary care physician must decide whether to observe and treat empirically, perform further diagnostic testing, or refer the patient to a dermatologist. This decision depends on the likelihood of a serious disorder and the patient's response to treatment.