Items in AFP with MESH term: Severity of Illness Index
Gout: An Update - Article
ABSTRACT: Arthritis caused by gout (i.e., gouty arthritis) accounts for millions of outpatient visits annually, and the prevalence is increasing. Gout is caused by monosodium urate crystal deposition in tissues leading to arthritis, soft tissue masses (i.e., tophi), nephrolithiasis, and urate nephropathy. The biologic precursor to gout is elevated serum uric acid levels (i.e., hyperuricemia). Asymptomatic hyperuricemia is common and usually does not progress to clinical gout. Acute gout most often presents as attacks of pain, erythema, and swelling of one or a few joints in the lower extremities. The diagnosis is confirmed if monosodium urate crystals are present in synovial fluid. First-line therapy for acute gout is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids, depending on comorbidities; colchicine is second-line therapy. After the first gout attack, modifiable risk factors (e.g., high-purine diet, alcohol use, obesity, diuretic therapy) should be addressed. Urate-lowering therapy for gout is initiated after multiple attacks or after the development of tophi or urate nephrolithiasis. Allopurinol is the most common therapy for chronic gout. Uricosuric agents are alternative therapies in patients with preserved renal function and no history of nephrolithiasis. During urate-lowering therapy, the dose should be titrated upward until the serum uric acid level is less than 6 mg per dL (355 micromol per L). When initiating urate-lowering therapy, concurrent prophylactic therapy with low-dose colchicine for three to six months may reduce flare-ups.
ABSTRACT: Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease with recurrent symptoms and significant morbidity. The precise etiology is still unknown. As many as 25 percent of patients with ulcerative colitis have extraintestinal manifestations. The diagnosis is made endoscopically. Tests such as perinuclear antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibodies and anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies are promising, but not yet recommended for routine use. Treatment is based on the extent and severity of the disease. Rectal therapy with 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds is used for proctitis. More extensive disease requires treatment with oral 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds and oral corticosteroids. The side effects of steroids limit their usefulness for chronic therapy. Patients who do not respond to treatment with oral corticosteroids require hospitalization and intravenous steroids. Refractory symptoms may be treated with azathioprine or infliximab. Surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis is reserved for patients who fail medical therapy or who develop severe hemorrhage, perforation, or cancer. Longstanding ulcerative colitis is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. Patients should receive an initial screening colonoscopy eight years after the onset of pancolitis and 12 to 15 years after the onset of left-sided disease; follow-up colonoscopy should be repeated every two to three years.
ABSTRACT: Urinary retention is the inability to voluntarily void urine. This condition can be acute or chronic. Causes of urinary retention are numerous and can be classified as obstructive, infectious and inflammatory, pharmacologic, neurologic, or other. The most common cause of urinary retention is benign prostatic hyperplasia. Other common causes include prostatitis, cystitis, urethritis, and vulvovaginitis; receiving medications in the anticholinergic and alphaadrenergic agonist classes; and cortical, spinal, or peripheral nerve lesions. Obstructive causes in women often involve the pelvic organs. A thorough history, physical examination, and selected diagnostic testing should determine the cause of urinary retention in most cases. Initial management includes bladder catheterization with prompt and complete decompression. Men with acute urinary retention from benign prostatic hyperplasia have an increased chance of returning to normal voiding if alpha blockers are started at the time of catheter insertion. Suprapubic catheterization may be superior to urethral catheterization for short-term management and silver alloy-impregnated urethral catheters have been shown to reduce urinary tract infection. Patients with chronic urinary retention from neurogenic bladder should be able to manage their condition with clean, intermittent self-catheterization; low-friction catheters have shown benefit in these patients. Definitive management of urinary retention will depend on the etiology and may include surgical and medical treatments.
Diagnosis of Ear Pain - Article
ABSTRACT: Many patients in primary care present with ear pain (otalgia). When the ear is the source of the pain (primary otalgia), the ear examination is usually abnormal. When the ear is not the source of the pain (secondary otalgia), the ear examination is typically normal. The cause of primary otalgia is usually apparent on examination; the most common causes are otitis media and otitis externa. The cause of secondary otalgia is often difficult to determine because the innervation of the ear is complex and there are many potential sources of referred pain. The most common causes are temporomandibular joint syndrome, pharyngitis, dental disease, and cervical spine arthritis. If the diagnosis is not clear from the history and physical examination, options include a trial of symptomatic treatment without a clear diagnosis; imaging studies; and consultation with an otolaryngologist. Patients who smoke, drink alcohol, are older than 50 years, or have diabetes are at higher risk of a cause of ear pain that needs further evaluation. Patients whose history or physical examination increases suspicion for a serious occult cause of ear pain or whose symptoms persist after symptomatic treatment should be considered for further evaluation, such as magnetic resonance imaging, fiberoptic nasolaryngoscopy, or an erythrocyte sedimentation rate measurement.
ABSTRACT: Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common condition affecting older men. Typical presenting symptoms include urinary hesitancy, weak stream, nocturia, incontinence, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Acute urinary retention, which requires urgent bladder catheterization, is relatively uncommon. Irreversible renal damage is rare. The initial evaluation should assess the frequency and severity of symptoms and the impact of symptoms on the patient's quality of life. The American Urological Association Symptom Index is a validated instrument for the objective assessment of symptom severity. The initial evaluation should also include a digital rectal examination and urinalysis. Men with hematuria should be evaluated for bladder cancer. A palpable nodule or induration of the prostate requires referral for assessment to rule out prostate cancer. For men with mild symptoms, watchful waiting with annual reassessment is appropriate. Over the past decade, numerous medical and surgical interventions have been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Alpha blockers improve symptoms relatively quickly. Although 5-alpha reductase inhibitors have a slower onset of action, they may decrease prostate size and alter the disease course. Limited evidence shows that the herbal agents saw palmetto extract, rye grass pollen extract, and pygeum relieve symptoms. Transurethral resection of the prostate often provides permanent relief. Newer laser-based surgical techniques have comparable effectiveness to transurethral resection up to two years after surgery with lower perioperative morbidity. Various outpatient surgical techniques are associated with reduced morbidity, but symptom relief may be less durable.
ABSTRACT: In February 2002, the Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative of the National Kidney Foundation published clinical practice guidelines on chronic kidney disease. The first six of the 15 guidelines are of the greatest relevance to family physicians. Part I of this two-part article reviews guidelines 1, 2, and 3. Chronic kidney disease is defined by the presence of a marker of kidney damage, such as proteinuria (ratio of greater than 30 mg of albumin to 1 g of creatinine on untimed [spot] urine testing), or a decreased glomerular filtration rate for three or more months. Disease staging is based on the glomerular filtration rate. Evaluation should be directed at determining the type and severity of chronic kidney disease. Treatment goals include preventing disease progression and complications. The guidelines place special emphasis on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in patients with chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for chronic kidney disease include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, family history of chronic kidney disease, age older than 60 years, and U.S. racial or ethnic minority status. The guidelines recommend testing for proteinuria and estimating the glomerular filtration rate in patients at risk for chronic kidney disease. Family physicians should weigh the value of the National Kidney Foundation guidelines for their clinical practice based on the strength of evidence and perceived cost-effectiveness until additional evidence becomes available on the usefulness of the recommended quality indicators.
ABSTRACT: Primary care physicians should have a working knowledge of rheumatic diseases of childhood that manifest primarily as musculoskeletal pain. Children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can present with painless joint inflammation and may have normal results on rheumatologic tests. Significant morbidity may result from associated painless uveitis, and children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis should be screened by an ophthalmologist. The spondyloarthropathies (including juvenile ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis) often cause enthesitis, and patients typically have positive results on a human leukocyte antigen B27 test and negative results on an antinuclear antibody test. Patients with acute rheumatic fever present with migratory arthritis two to three weeks after having untreated group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis. Henoch-Schbnlein purpura may manifest as arthritis before the classic purpuric rash appears. Systemic lupus erythematosus is rare in childhood but may cause significant morbidity and mortality if not treated early. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy may be useful early interventions if a rheumatic illness is suspected. Family physicians should refer children when the diagnosis is in question or subspecialty treatment is required. Part I of this series discusses an approach to diagnosis with judicious use of laboratory and radiologic testing.
ABSTRACT: Physicians are frequently involved in the assessment of impairment and disability as the treating physician, in consultation, or as an independent medical examiner. The key elements of this assessment include a comprehensive clinical evaluation and appropriate standardized testing to establish the diagnosis, characterize the severity of impairment, and communicate the patient's abilities, restrictions, and need for accommodation. In some cases, a functional capacity evaluation performed by a physical or occupational therapist or a neuropsychological evaluation performed by a neuropsychologist may be required to further clarify the functional capacity of the patient. The results of the impairment evaluation should be communicated in clear, simple terms to nonmedical professionals representing the benefits systems. These individuals make the final determination on the extent of disability and eligibility for benefits and compensation under that particular benefits system.
ABSTRACT: A pressure ulcer is a localized injury to the skin or underlying tissue, usually over a bony prominence, as a result of unrelieved pressure. Predisposing factors are classified as intrinsic (e.g., limited mobility, poor nutrition, comorbidities, aging skin) or extrinsic (e.g., pressure, friction, shear, moisture). Prevention includes identifying at-risk persons and implementing specific prevention measures, such as following a patient repositioning schedule; keeping the head of the bed at the lowest safe elevation to prevent shear; using pressure-reducing surfaces; and assessing nutrition and providing supplementation, if needed. When an ulcer occurs, documentation of each ulcer (i.e., size, location, eschar and granulation tissue, exudate, odor, sinus tracts, undermining, and infection) and appropriate staging (I through IV) are essential to the wound assessment. Treatment involves management of local and distant infections, removal of necrotic tissue, maintenance of a moist environment for wound healing, and possibly surgery. Debridement is indicated when necrotic tissue is present. Urgent sharp debridement should be performed if advancing cellulitis or sepsis occurs. Mechanical, enzymatic, and autolytic debridement methods are nonurgent treatments. Wound cleansing, preferably with normal saline and appropriate dressings, is a mainstay of treatment for clean ulcers and after debridement. Bacterial load can be managed with cleansing. Topical antibiotics should be considered if there is no improvement in healing after 14 days. Systemic antibiotics are used in patients with advancing cellulitis, osteomyelitis, or systemic infection.