Items in AFP with MESH term: Severity of Illness Index
ABSTRACT: The polymerase chain reaction assay, branched DNA assay and nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assay quantitate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA levels. Plasma viral load (PVL) testing has become a cornerstone of HIV disease management. Initiation of antiretroviral drug therapy is usually recommended when the PVL is 10,000 to 30,000 copies per mL or when CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts are less than 350 to 500 per mm3 (0.35 to 0.50 x 10(9) per L). PVL levels usually show a 1- to 2-log reduction within four to six weeks after therapy is started. The goal is no detectable virus in 16 to 24 weeks. Periodic monitoring of PVL is important to promptly identify treatment failure. When feasible, the same assay should be used for serial PVL testing in the individual patient. At least two PVL measurements usually should be performed before antiretroviral drug therapy is initiated or changed. PVL testing may be helpful in the rare instance of indeterminate HIV antibody testing, especially in a patient with recent infection.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis - Article
ABSTRACT: Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults. The disorder classically presents with pain that is particularly severe with the first few steps taken in the morning. In general, plantar fasciitis is a self-limited condition. However, symptoms usually resolve more quickly when the interval between the onset of symptoms and the onset of treatment is shorter. Many treatment options exist, including rest, stretching, strengthening, change of shoes, arch supports, orthotics, night splints, anti-inflammatory agents and surgery. Usually, plantar fasciitis can be treated successfully by tailoring treatment to an individual's risk factors and preferences.
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.
ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, the conceptual understanding of heart failure has changed significantly. Several large clinical trials have demonstrated that pharmacologic interventions can dramatically reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with heart failure. These trials have extended the therapeutic paradigm for treating heart failure beyond the goal of limiting congestive symptoms of volume overload. This two-part article presents an evidence-based guideline to assist primary care physicians in evaluating and treating patients with heart failure. Part I describes the new paradigm of heart failure and offers guidance for diagnostic testing. Part II presents a treatment guideline.
Anemia in Children - Article
ABSTRACT: Anemia in children is commonly encountered by the family physician. Multiple causes exist, but with a thorough history, a physical examination and limited laboratory evaluation a specific diagnosis can usually be established. The use of the mean corpuscular volume to classify the anemia as microcytic, normocytic or macrocytic is a standard diagnostic approach. The most common form of microcytic anemia is iron deficiency caused by reduced dietary intake. It is easily treatable with supplemental iron and early intervention may prevent later loss of cognitive function. Less common causes of microcytosis are thalassemia and lead poisoning. Normocytic anemia has many causes, making the diagnosis more difficult. The reticulocyte count will help narrow the differential diagnosis; however, additional testing may be necessary to rule out hemolysis, hemoglobinopathies, membrane defects and enzymopathies. Macrocytic anemia may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B12, hypothyroidism and liver disease. This form of anemia is uncommon in children.
Managing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia - Article
ABSTRACT: Medical and surgical options for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia have expanded in recent years. Saw palmetto, the most widely used complementary medication, is less effective than standard medical therapy but has fewer side effects. Although non-selective alpha blockers provide rapid relief of symptoms and are relatively inexpensive, they can cause dizziness and orthostatic hypotension. These effects occur less often with tamsulosin, a more selective alpha blocker. Finasteride, a 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, slowly reduces prostatic volume but is not as effective as alpha blockers, especially in men with a smaller prostate. Dutasteride, a new 5alpha-reductase inhibitor, has recently been labeled for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Surgery may be appropriate initial treatment in patients with severe symptoms who are not at high risk for complications. Surgery may also be indicated in patients who have failed medical therapy or have recurrent infection, hematuria, or renal insufficiency. Transurethral resection of the prostate is effective in most patients, but it carries some risk of sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and bleeding. Surgical procedures that use thermal microwave or laser energy to reduce hyperplastic prostate tissue have recently become available. In general, the newer procedures are less expensive than transurethral resection of the prostate and have fewer complications; however, the need for retreatment is somewhat greater with these less invasive techniques.
ABSTRACT: From 2 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age have severe distress and dysfunction caused by premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. Current research implicates mechanisms of serotonin as relevant to etiology and treatment. Patients with mild to moderate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome may benefit from nonpharmacologic interventions such as education about the disorder, lifestyle changes, and nutritional adjustments. However, patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder and those who fail to respond to more conservative measures may also require pharmacologic management, typically beginning with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This drug class seems to reduce emotional, cognitive-behavioral, and physical symptoms, and improve psychosocial functioning. Serotoninergic antidepressants such as fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline, and clomipramine are effective when used intermittently during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Treatment strategies specific to the luteal phase may reduce cost, long-term side effects, and risk of discontinuation syndrome. Patients who do not respond to a serotoninergic antidepressant may be treated with another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Low-dose alprazolam, administered intermittently during the luteal phase, may be considered as a second-line treatment. A therapeutic trial with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or danazol may be considered when other treatments are ineffective. However, the risk of serious side effects and the cost of these medications limit their use to short periods.
ABSTRACT: Foot ulcers are a significant complication of diabetes mellitus and often precede lower-extremity amputation. The most frequent underlying etiologies are neuropathy, trauma, deformity, high plantar pressures, and peripheral arterial disease. Thorough and systematic evaluation and categorization of foot ulcers help guide appropriate treatment. The Wagner and University of Texas systems are the ones most frequently used for classification of foot ulcers, and the stage is indicative of prognosis. Pressure relief using total contact casts, removable cast walkers, or "half shoes" is the mainstay of initial treatment. Sharp debridement and management of underlying infection and ischemia are also critical in the care of foot ulcers. Prompt and aggressive treatment of diabetic foot ulcers can often prevent exacerbation of the problem and eliminate the potential for amputation. The aim of therapy should be early intervention to allow prompt healing of the lesion and prevent recurrence once it is healed. Multidisciplinary management programs that focus on prevention, education, regular foot examinations, aggressive intervention, and optimal use of therapeutic footwear have demonstrated significant reductions in the incidence of lower-extremity amputations.
ABSTRACT: As many as 30 million Americans have migraine headaches. The impact on patients and their families can be tremendous, and treatment of migraines can present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for family physicians. Abortive treatment options include nonspecific and migraine-specific therapy. Nonspecific therapies include analgesics (aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opiates), adjunctive therapies (antiemetics and sedatives), and other nonspecific medications (intranasal lidocaine or steroids). Migraine-specific abortive therapies include ergotamine and its derivatives, and triptans. Complementary and alternative therapies can also be used to abort the headache or enhance the efficacy of another therapeutic modality. Treatment choices for acute migraine should be based on headache severity, migraine frequency, associated symptoms, and comorbidities.