Items in AFP with MESH term: Tomography, X-Ray Computed
Management of Seizures and Epilepsy - Article
ABSTRACT: While the evaluation and treatment of patients with seizures or epilepsy is often challenging, modern therapy provides many patients with complete seizure control. After a first seizure, evaluation should focus on excluding an underlying neurologic or medical condition, assessing the relative risk of seizure recurrence and determining whether treatment is indicated. Successful management of patients with recurrent seizures begins with the establishment of an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy syndrome followed by treatment using an appropriate medication in a manner that optimizes efficacy. The goal of therapy is to completely control seizures without producing unacceptable medication side effects. Patients who do not achieve complete seizure control should be referred to an epilepsy specialist, since new medications and surgical treatments offer patients unprecedented options in seizure control.
Acute Appendicitis: Review and Update - Article
ABSTRACT: Appendicitis is common, with a lifetime occurrence of 7 percent. Abdominal pain and anorexia are the predominant symptoms. The most important physical examination finding is right lower quadrant tenderness to palpation. A complete blood count and urinalysis are sometimes helpful in determining the diagnosis and supporting the presence or absence of appendicitis, while appendiceal computed tomographic scans and ultrasonography can be helpful in equivocal cases. Delay in diagnosing appendicitis increases the risk of perforation and complications. Complication and mortality rates are much higher in children and the elderly.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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: Hematuria, symptomatic and incidental, that involves more than three red blood cells per high-power field on two of three properly collected urinalysis specimens warrants some type of imaging to evaluate the upper tracts. Traditionally, excretory urography or the intravenous pyelogram has been the mainstay of the hematuria work-up, but computed tomography urography has more recently been recognized to have significant advantages. Multidetector computed tomography urography, a cross-sectional technique, is less susceptible to overlying bowel gas and more sensitive for detection of small tumors and calculi. Moreover, intravenous-pyelogram-like images can be obtained by using reconstruction techniques. In specific cases, ultrasound examination and magnetic resonance imaging can also be useful, and are particularly helpful in children and pregnant women. Neither modality has the sensitivity of computed tomography for calculi, but small tumors may be visible on magnetic resonance imaging. This article reviews the appropriateness criteria for the various radiologic imaging tests used in the evaluation of hematuria, as proposed by the American College of Radiology.
The Role of Chest CT in Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism - AFP Journal Club