Items in AFP with MESH term: Severity of Illness Index
ABSTRACT: Although heart failure is a common clinical syndrome, especially in the elderly, its diagnosis is often missed. A detailed clinical history is crucial and should address not only current signs and symptoms of heart failure but also signs and symptoms that point to a specific cause of the syndrome, such as coronary artery disease, hypertension or valvular heart disease. It is important to determine whether the patient has had a previous cardiac event, in particular a myocardial infarction. The physical examination should include Valsalva's maneuver, a test that is highly specific and sensitive for the detection of left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction in patients with heart failure. An electrocardiograph and a chest radiograph should also be obtained. Two-dimensional echocardiography of the heart helps differentiate systolic from diastolic dysfunction. Coronary angiography is indicated in patients with heart failure and anginal chest pain and should be strongly considered in patients with an electrocardiogram suggestive of ischemia or myocardial infarction.
ACC/AHA Guidelines on the Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction - Practice Guidelines
ABSTRACT: Treatment advances over the past 25 years have significantly decreased morbidity and mortality in children with sickle cell disease. Aggressive management of fever, early diagnosis of acute chest syndrome, judicious use of transfusions and proper treatment of pain can improve quality of life and prognosis for these children. Prophylactic hydroxyurea therapy has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of pain crises in adults with sickle cell disease and has been effective in limited studies conducted in children. Research into stem cell transplantation provides hope that a cure for sickle cell disease may be possible.
Beta Blockers and Congestive Heart Failure - Editorials
Heat-Related Illness - Article
ABSTRACT: Heat-related illness is a set of preventable conditions ranging from mild forms (e.g., heat exhaustion, heat cramps) to potentially fatal heat stroke. Hot and humid conditions challenge cardiovascular compensatory mechanisms. Once core temperature reaches 104°F (40°C), cellular damage occurs, initiating a cascade of events that may lead to organ failure and death. Early recognition of symptoms and accurate measurement of core temperature are crucial to rapid diagnosis. Milder forms of heat-related illness are manifested by symptoms such as headache, weakness, dizziness, and an inability to continue activity. These are managed by supportive measures including hydration and moving the patient to a cool place. Hyperthermia and central nervous system symptoms should prompt an evaluation for heat stroke. Initial treatments should focus on lowering core temperature through cold water immersion. Applying ice packs to the head, neck, axilla, and groin is an alternative. Additional measures include transporting the patient to a cool environment, removing excess clothing, and intravenous hydration. Delayed access to cooling is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in persons with heat stroke. Identification of at-risk groups can help physicians and community health agencies provide preventive measures.
ABSTRACT: Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounted for 29,165 deaths in 2007, with a mortality rate of 9.7 per 100,000 persons. Alcohol abuse and viral hepatitis are the most common causes of cirrhosis, although nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is emerging as an increasingly important cause. Primary care physicians share responsibility with specialists in managing the most common complications of the disease, screening for hepatocellular carcinoma, and preparing patients for referral to a transplant center. Patients with cirrhosis should be screened for hepatocellular carcinoma with imaging studies every six to 12 months. Causes of hepatic encephalopathy include constipation, infection, gastrointestinal bleeding, certain medications, electrolyte imbalances, and noncompliance with medical therapy. These should be sought and managed before instituting the use of lactulose or rifaximin, which is aimed at reducing serum ammonia levels. Ascites should be treated initially with salt restriction and diuresis. Patients with acute episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding should be monitored in an intensive care unit, and should have endoscopy performed within 24 hours. Physicians should also be vigilant for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Treating alcohol abuse, screening for viral hepatitis, and controlling risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are mechanisms by which the primary care physician can reduce the incidence of cirrhosis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy, affecting approximately 3 to 6 percent of adults in the general population. Although the cause is not usually determined, it can include trauma, repetitive maneuvers, certain diseases, and pregnancy. Symptoms are related to compression of the median nerve, which results in pain, numbness, and tingling. Physical examination findings, such as hypalgesia, square wrist sign, and a classic or probable pattern on hand symptom diagram, are useful in making the diagnosis. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography can resolve diagnostic uncertainty and can be used to quantify and stratify disease severity. Treatment options are based on disease severity. Six weeks to three months of conservative treatment can be considered in patients with mild disease. Lifestyle modifications, including decreasing repetitive activity and using ergonomic devices, have been traditionally advocated, but have inconsistent evidence to support their effectiveness. Cock-up and neutral wrist splints and oral corticosteroids are considered first-line therapies, with local corticosteroid injections used for refractory symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) have been shown to be no more effective than placebo. Most conservative treatments provide short-term symptom relief, with little evidence supporting long-term benefits. Patients with moderate to severe disease should be considered for surgical evaluation. Open and endoscopic surgical approaches have similar five-year outcomes.
Diagnosis of Urinary Incontinence - Article
ABSTRACT: Urinary incontinence is common, increases in prevalence with age, and affects quality of life for men and women. The initial evaluation occurs in the family physician’s office and generally does not require urologic or gynecologic evaluation. The basic workup is aimed at identifying possible reversible causes. If no reversible cause is identified, then the incontinence is considered chronic. The next step is to determine the type of incontinence (urge, stress, overflow, mixed, or functional) and the urgency with which it should be treated. These determinations are made using a patient questionnaire, such as the 3 Incontinence Questions, an assessment of other medical problems that may contribute to incontinence, a discussion of the effect of symptoms on the patient’s quality of life, a review of the patient’s completed voiding diary, a physical examination, and, if stress incontinence is suspected, a cough stress test. Other components of the evaluation include laboratory tests and measurement of postvoid residual urine volume. If the type of urinary incontinence is still not clear, or if red flags such as hematuria, obstructive symptoms, or recurrent urinary tract infections are present, referral to a urologist or urogynecologist should be considered.