Items in AFP with MESH term: Referral and Consultation
ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. It impairs cardiac function and increases the risk of stroke. The incidence of atrial fibrillation increases with age. Key treatment issues include deciding when to restore normal sinus rhythm, when to control rate only, and how to prevent thromboembolism. Rate control is the preferred management option in most patients. Rhythm control is an option for patients in whom rate control cannot be achieved or who have persistent symptoms despite rate control. The current recommendation for strict rate control is a resting heart rate of less than 80 beats per minute. However, one study has shown that more lenient rate control of less than 110 beats per minute while at rest was not inferior to strict rate control in preventing cardiac death, heart failure, stroke, and life-threatening arrhythmias. Anticoagulation therapy is needed with rate control and rhythm control to prevent stroke. Warfarin is superior to aspirin and clopidogrel in preventing stroke despite its narrow therapeutic range and increased risk of bleeding. Tools that predict the risk of stroke (e.g., CHADS2) and the risk of bleeding (e.g., Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index) are helpful in making decisions about anticoagulation therapy. Surgical options for atrial fibrillation include disruption of abnormal conduction pathways in the atria, and obliteration of the left atrial appendage. Catheter ablation is an option for restoring normal sinus rhythm in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and normal left atrial size. Referral to a cardiologist is warranted in patients who have complex cardiac disease; who are symptomatic on or unable to tolerate pharmacologic rate control; or who may be candidates for ablation or surgical interventions.
ABSTRACT: Constipation is traditionally defined as three or fewer bowel movements per week. Risk factors for constipation include female sex, older age, inactivity, low caloric intake, low-fiber diet, low income, low educational level, and taking a large number of medications. Chronic constipation is classified as functional (primary) or secondary. Functional constipation can be divided into normal transit, slow transit, or outlet constipation. Possible causes of secondary chronic constipation include medication use, as well as medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism or irritable bowel syndrome. Frail older patients may present with nonspecific symptoms of constipation, such as delirium, anorexia, and functional decline. The evaluation of constipation includes a history and physical examination to rule out alarm signs and symptoms. These include evidence of bleeding, unintended weight loss, iron deficiency anemia, acute onset constipation in older patients, and rectal prolapse. Patients with one or more alarm signs or symptoms require prompt evaluation. Referral to a subspecialist for additional evaluation and diagnostic testing may be warranted.
ABSTRACT: Heart murmurs are common in healthy infants, children, and adolescents. Although most are not pathologic, a murmur may be the sole manifestation of serious heart disease. Historical elements that suggest pathology include family history of sudden cardiac death or congenital heart disease, in utero exposure to certain medications or alcohol, maternal diabetes mellitus, history of rheumatic fever or Kawasaki disease, and certain genetic disorders. Physical examination should focus on vital signs; age-appropriate exercise capacity; respiratory or gastrointestinal manifestations of congestive heart failure; and a thorough cardiovascular examination, including features of the murmur, assessment of peripheral perfusion, and auscultation over the heart valves. Red flags that increase the likelihood of a pathologic murmur include a holosystolic or diastolic murmur, grade 3 or higher murmur, harsh quality, an abnormal S2, maximal murmur intensity at the upper left sternal border, a systolic click, or increased intensity when the patient stands. Electrocardiography and chest radiography rarely assist in the diagnosis. Referral to a pediatric cardiologist is recommended for patients with any other abnormal physical examination findings, a history of conditions that increase the likelihood of structural heart disease, symptoms suggesting underlying cardiac disease, or when a specific innocent murmur cannot be identified by the family physician. Echocardiography provides a definitive diagnosis and is recommended for evaluation of any potentially pathologic murmur, and for evaluation of neonatal heart murmurs because these are more likely to be manifestations of structural heart disease.
ABSTRACT: Chronic kidney disease affects an estimated 27 million adults in the United States, and is associated with significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Patients should be assessed annually to determine whether they are at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease based on clinical and sociodemographic factors. Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and older age are the primary risk factors that warrant screening. Other risk factors include cardiovascular disease, family history of chronic kidney disease, and ethnic and racial minority status. Serum creatinine levels can be used to estimate the glomerular filtration rate, and spot urine testing can detect proteinuria. After the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease is made, staging based on estimated glomerular filtration rate determines prognosis, evaluation, and management. Further evaluation should focus on the specific type of kidney disease and on identifying complications related to the disease stage. Patients should be assessed for risk factors leading to the further loss of kidney function and cardiovascular disease. Patients with estimated glomerular filtration rates less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2, significant proteinuria, or rapid loss of kidney function should be referred to a nephrologist for further evaluation and management.
Primary and Subspecialty Care: Building a Collaborative Relationship - Curbside Consultation
Bridging the Physician-Counselor Divide - The Last Word
Prevention of Malaria in Travelers - Article
ABSTRACT: There are approximately 300 million cases of malaria each year, resulting in 1 million deaths worldwide. Family physicians often encounter patients preparing to travel to malaria-endemic regions. Physicians should have basic knowledge of parasite transmission and malaria prevention. The risk of malaria acquisition is based largely on geographic location and travel season. Most cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia between the months of May and December. Key elements in prevention include barrier protection and chemoprophylaxis. Travelers to malaria-endemic areas should be advised to use mosquito repellent at all times and bed netting at night. Prophylactic medication should be initiated before travel and continued after return. Travelers should be warned that malaria symptoms can present up to one year after a mosquito bite. Symptoms are vague, and may include fever, chills, arthralgias, and headaches. Travelers experiencing symptoms should seek prompt medical attention.