Items in AFP with MESH term: Tomography, X-Ray Computed
ABSTRACT: Incidental renal or adrenal masses are sometimes found during imaging for problems unrelated to the kidneys and adrenal glands. Knowledgeable family physicians can reliably diagnose these masses, thereby avoiding unnecessary worry and procedures for their patients. A practical and cost-efficient means of evaluating renal lesions combines ultrasonography and computed tomographic scanning, with close communication between the family physician and the radiologist. Asymptomatic patients with simple renal cysts require no further evaluation. Patients with minimally complicated renal cysts can be followed radiographically. Magnetic resonance imaging is indicated in patients with indeterminate renal masses, and referral is required in patients with symptoms or solid masses. The need for referral of patients with adrenal masses is determined by careful assessment of clinical signs and symptoms, as well as the results of screening laboratory studies and appropriate radiologic studies. Referral is indicated for patients with incidental adrenal masses more than 6 cm in greatest diameter. Appropriate laboratory screening tests include the following: a 24-hour urinary free cortisol measurement for patients with evidence of Cushing's syndrome; a 24-hour urinary metanephrine, vanillylmandelic acid or catecholamine measurement for patients with evidence of pheochromocytoma; and a serum potassium level for patients with evidence of hyperaldosteronism.
Evaluation of Acute Headaches in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Classifying headaches as primary (migraine, tension-type or cluster) or secondary can facilitate evaluation and management A detailed headache history helps to distinguish among the primary headache disorders. "Red flags" for secondary disorders include sudden onset of headache, onset of headache after 50 years of age, increased frequency or severity of headache, new onset of headache with an underlying medical condition, headache with concomitant systemic illness, focal neurologic signs or symptoms, papilledema and headache subsequent to head trauma. A thorough neurologic examination should be performed, with abnormal findings warranting neuroimaging to rule out intracranial pathology. The preferred imaging modality to rule out hemorrhage is noncontrast computed tomographic (CT) scanning followed by lumbar puncture if the CT scan is normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more expensive than CT scanning and less widely available; however, MRI reveals more detail and is necessary for imaging the posterior fossa. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis can help to confirm or rule out hemorrhage, infection, tumor and disorders related to CSF hypertension or hypotension. Referral is appropriate for patients with headaches that are difficult to diagnose, or that worsen or fail to respond to management
ABSTRACT: The diagnosis and initial management of urolithiasis have undergone considerable evolution in recent years. The application of noncontrast helical computed tomography (CT) in patients with suspected renal colic is one major advance. The superior sensitivity and specificity of helical CT allow urolithiasis to be diagnosed or excluded definitively and expeditiously without the potential harmful effects of contrast media. Initial management is based on three key concepts: (1) the recognition of urgent and emergency requirements for urologic consultation, (2) the provision of effective pain control using a combination of narcotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in appropriate patients and (3) an understanding of the impact of stone location and size on natural history and definitive urologic management. These concepts are discussed with reference to contemporary literature, with the goal of providing tools that family physicians can use in the emergency department or clinic.
Recognizing Spinal Cord Emergencies - Article
ABSTRACT: Physicians who work in primary care settings and emergency departments frequently evaluate patients with neck and back pain. Spinal cord emergencies are uncommon, but injury must be recognized early so that the diagnosis can be quickly confirmed and treatment can be instituted to possibly prevent permanent loss of function. The differential diagnosis includes spinal cord compression secondary to vertebral fracture or space-occupying lesion, spinal infection or abscess, vascular or hematologic damage, severe disc herniation and spinal stenosis. The most important information in the assessment of a possible spinal cord emergency comes from the history and the clinical evaluation. Physicians must look for "red flags"--key historical and clinical clues that increase the likelihood of a serious underlying disorder. In considering diagnostic tests, physicians should apply the principles outlined in an algorithm for the evaluation of low back pain prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research). Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging can clearly define anatomy, but these studies are costly and have a high false-positive rate. Referral of high-risk patients to a neurologist or spine specialist may be indicated.
ABSTRACT: The treatment of osteosarcoma requires a multidisciplinary approach involving the family physician, orthopedic oncologist, medical oncologist, radiologist and pathologist. Osteosarcoma is a mesenchymally derived, high-grade bone sarcoma. It is the third most common malignancy in children and adolescents. The most frequent sites of origin are the distal femur, proximal tibia and proximal humerus. Patients typically present with pain, swelling, localized enlargement of the extremity and, occasionally, pathologic fracture. Most patients present with localized disease. Radiographs commonly demonstrate a mixed sclerotic and lytic lesion arising in the metaphyseal region of the involved bone. Computed tomography and bone scanning are recommended to detect pulmonary and bone metastases, respectively. Before 1970, osteosarcomas were treated with amputation. Survival was poor: 80 percent of patients died from metastatic disease. With the development of induction and adjuvant chemotherapy protocols, advances in surgical techniques and improvements in radiologic staging studies, 90 to 95 percent of patients with osteosarcoma can now be treated with limb-sparing resection and reconstruction. Long-term survival and cure rates have increased to between 60 and 80 percent in patients with localized disease.
ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis affects nearly 28 million elderly Americans. Its major clinical manifestation is fragility fractures of the spine, hip, and distal radius. Low bone mass is the most important risk factor for a fragility fracture. In 1994, the World Health Organization defined osteoporosis on the basis of a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations below that in peak young normal persons. Three common imaging modalities used to assess bone strength are dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, quantitative computed tomography, and calcaneal ultrasonography. The first two modalities measure bone mineral density in both the lumbar spine and peripheral sites. It is thought that calcaneal ultrasonography measures bone architecture and density. Unlike the other studies, ultrasonography currently cannot be used for monitoring skeletal changes over time or evaluating response to therapy.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Acute respiratory distress syndrome is the clinical manifestation of severe, acute lung injury. It is characterized by the acute onset of diffuse, bilateral pulmonary infiltrates secondary to noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, refractory hypoxia, and decreased lung compliance. Acute respiratory distress syndrome occurs most frequently in the setting of sepsis, aspiration of gastric contents, trauma, or multiple transfusions. Its complex pathophysiology involves an inciting local or systemic event that initiates pulmonary endothelial and epithelial damage and subsequent increased permeability. Tachypnea, hypoxia, and respiratory alkalosis are typical early clinical manifestations, and they are usually followed by the appearance of diffuse pulmonary infiltrates and respiratory failure within 48 hours. Early identification and treatment of the underlying disorder, along with aggressive supportive care, are essential. Experimental therapies, including those using nitric oxide and surfactant, have not been shown to improve mortality in patients with ARDS, but new therapeutic approaches such as low-volume ventilation have been shown to decrease mortality. Many patients who survive ARDS have permanent, mild to moderate impairment of lung function. Quality of life after hospitalization with ARDS may be poorer than that in similar patients without ARDS.
ABSTRACT: Growing evidence shows that early detection of cancer can substantially reduce mortality, necessitating screening programs that encourage patient compliance. Radiology is already established as a screening tool, as in mammography for breast cancer and ultrasonography for congenital anomalies. Advanced processing of helical computed tomographic data sets permits three-dimensional and virtual endoscopic models. Such models are noninvasive and require minimal patient preparation, making them ideal for screening. Virtual endoscopy has been used to evaluate the colon, bronchi, stomach, blood vessels, bladder, kidney, larynx, and paranasal sinuses. The most promising role for virtual endoscopy is in screening patients for colorectal cancer. The technique has also been used to evaluate the tracheobronchial tree for bronchogenic carcinoma. Three-dimensional and virtual endoscopy can screen, diagnose, evaluate and assist determination of surgical approach, and provide surveillance of certain malignancies.
ABSTRACT: Sinusitis is one of the most common diseases treated by primary care physicians. Uncomplicated sinusitis does not require radiologic imagery. However, when symptoms are recurrent or refractory despite adequate treatment, further diagnostic evaluations may be indicated. Plain radiography has a limited role in the management of sinusitis. Although air-fluid levels and complete opacification of a sinus are more specific for sinusitis, they are only seen in 60 percent of cases. Noncontrast coronal computed tomographic (CT) images can define the nasal anatomy much more precisely. Mucosal thickening, polyps, and other sinus abnormalities can be seen in 40 percent of symptomatic adults; however, clinical correlation is needed to avoid overdiagnosis of sinusitis because of nonspecific CT findings. Use of CT is typically reserved for difficult cases or to define anatomy prior to sinus surgery. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cannot define bony anatomy as well as CT. MRI is only used to differentiate soft-tissue structures, such as in cases of suspected fungal infection or neoplasm. Referral will occasionally be needed in unusual or complicated cases. Immunocompromised persons and smokers are at increased risk for serious sinusitis complications.
ABSTRACT: Compression fracture of the vertebral body is common, especially in older adults. Vertebral compression fractures usually are caused by osteoporosis, and range from mild to severe. More severe fractures can cause significant pain, leading to inability to perform activities of daily living, and life-threatening decline in the elderly patient who already has decreased reserves. While the diagnosis can be suspected from history and physical examination, plain roentgenography, as well as occasional computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, are often helpful in accurate diagnosis and prognosis. Traditional conservative treatment includes bed rest, pain control, and physical therapy. Interventional procedures such as vertebroplasty can be considered in those patients who do not respond to initial treatment. Family physicians can help patients prevent compression fractures by diagnosing and treating predisposing factors, identifying high-risk patients, and educating patients and the public about measures to prevent falls.