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ABSTRACT: Helicobacter pylori is the cause of most peptic ulcer disease and a primary risk factor for gastric cancer. Eradication of the organism results in ulcer healing and reduces the risk of ulcer recurrence and complications. Testing and treatment have no clear value in patients with documented nonulcer dyspepsia; however, a test-and-treat strategy is recommended but for patients with undifferentiated dyspepsia who have not undergone endoscopy. In the office setting, initial serology testing is practical and affordable, with endoscopy reserved for use in patients with alarm symptoms for ulcer complications or cancer, or those who do not respond to treatment. Treatment involves 10- to 14-day multidrug regimens including antibiotics and acid suppressants, combined with education about avoidance of other ulcer-causing factors and the need for close follow-up. Follow-up testing (i.e., urea breath or stool antigen test) is recommended for patients who do not respond to therapy or those with a history of ulcer complications or cancer.
ABSTRACT: Occult gastrointestinal bleeding usually is discovered when fecal occult blood test results are positive or iron deficiency anemia is detected. Fecal occult blood testing methods vary, but all have limited sensitivity and specificity. The initial work-up for occult bleeding typically involves colonoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or both. In patients without symptoms indicating an upper gastrointestinal tract source or in patients older than 50 years, colonoscopy usually is performed first. About one half of patients with gastrointestinal bleeding do not have an obvious source of the bleeding. In those patients, small bowel imaging or repeat panendoscopy may be performed. Barium studies of the small bowel are widely available but have limited diagnostic utility. Mucosal lesions such as vascular ectasias, a common cause of obscure bleeding, may be missed by small bowel studies. Small bowel endoscopy is difficult to perform but has a higher diagnostic yield. Capsule endoscopy is a newer technique that allows noninvasive small bowel imaging. Radionuclide red blood cell scans or angiography may be useful in patients with active bleeding. Treatment of bleeding most often involves endoscopic ablation of the bleeding site with thermal energy, if the site is accessible. Angiographic embolization may be used to treat lesions that cannot be reached endoscopically. Diffuse vascular lesions, which are not uncommon, are difficult to treat. Medical treatment, usually with combined hormone therapy, has limited utility. Surgical treatment of obscure bleeding often fails or is not feasible because of multiple bleeding sites.
ABSTRACT: Gastroesophageal reflux is a common, self-limited process in infants that usually resolves by six to 12 months of age. Effective, conservative management involves thickened feedings, positional treatment, and parental reassurance. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a less common, more serious pathologic process that usually warrants medical management and diagnostic evaluation. Differential diagnosis includes upper gastrointestinal tract disorders; cow's milk allergy; and metabolic, infectious, renal, and central nervous system diseases. Pharmacologic management of GERD includes a prokinetic agent such as metoclopramide or cisapride and a histamine-receptor type 2 antagonist such as cimetidine or ranitidine when esophagitis is suspected. Although recent studies have supported the cautious use of cisapride in childhood GERD, the drug is currently not routinely available in the United States.
ABSTRACT: Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract at any point from the mouth to the rectum. Patients may experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, abdominal masses, and anemia. Extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn’s disease include osteoporosis, inflammatory arthropathies, scleritis, nephrolithiasis, cholelithiasis, and erythema nodosum. Acute phase reactants, such as C-reactive protein level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, are often increased with inflammation and may correlate with disease activity. Levels of vitamin B12, folate, albumin, prealbumin, and vitamin D can help assess nutritional status. Colonoscopy with ileoscopy, capsule endoscopy, computed tomography enterography, and small bowel follow-through are often used to diagnose Crohn’s disease. Ultrasonography, computed axial tomography, scintigraphy, and magnetic resonance imaging can assess for extraintestinal manifestations or complications (e.g., abscess, perforation). Mesalamine products are often used for the medical management of mild to moderate colonic Crohn’s disease. Antibiotics (e.g., metronidazole, fluoroquinolones) are often used for treatment. Patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease are treated with corticosteroids, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, or anti–tumor necrosis factor agents (e.g., infliximab, adalimumab). Severe disease may require emergent hospitalization and a multidisciplinary approach with a family physician, gastroenterologist, and surgeon.
ABSTRACT: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding causes significant morbidity and mortality in the United States, and has been associated with increasing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and the high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding. Rapid assessment and resuscitation should precede the diagnostic evaluation in unstable patients with severe bleeding. Risk stratification is based on clinical assessment and endoscopic findings. Early upper endoscopy (within 24 hours of presentation) is recommended in most patients because it confirms the diagnosis and allows for targeted endoscopic treatment, including epinephrine injection, thermocoagulation, application of clips, and banding. Endoscopic therapy results in reduced morbidity, hospital stays, risk of recurrent bleeding, and need for surgery. Although administration of proton pump inhibitors does not decrease mortality, risk of rebleeding, or need for surgery, it reduces stigmata of recent hemorrhage and the need for endoscopic therapy. Despite successful endoscopic therapy, rebleeding can occur in 10 to 20 percent of patients; a second attempt at endoscopic therapy is recommended in these patients. Arteriography with embolization or surgery may be needed if there is persistent and severe bleeding.
ABSTRACT: Occult gastrointestinal bleeding is defined as gastrointestinal bleeding that is not visible to the patient or physician, resulting in either a positive fecal occult blood test, or iron deficiency anemia with or without a positive fecal occult blood test. A stepwise evaluation will identify the cause of bleeding in the majority of patients. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and colonoscopy will find the bleeding source in 48 to 71 percent of patients. In patients with recurrent bleeding, repeat EGD and colonoscopy may find missed lesions in 35 percent of those who had negative initial findings. If a cause is not found after EGD and colonoscopy have been performed, capsule endoscopy has a diagnostic yield of 61 to 74 percent. Deep enteroscopy reaches into the mid and distal small bowel to further investigate and treat lesions found during capsule endoscopy or computed tomographic enterography. Evaluation of a patient who has a positive fecal occult blood test without iron deficiency anemia should begin with colonoscopy; asymptomatic patients whose colonoscopic findings are negative do not require further study unless anemia develops. All men and postmenopausal women with iron deficiency anemia, and premenopausal women who have iron deficiency anemia that cannot be explained by heavy menses, should be evaluated for occult gastrointestinal bleeding. Physicians should not attribute a positive fecal occult blood test to low-dose aspirin or anticoagulant medications without further evaluation.
Common Questions About Barrett Esophagus - Article
ABSTRACT: Barrett esophagus is a precancerous metaplasia of the esophagus that is more common in patients with chronic reflux symptoms, although it also occurs in patients without symptomatic reflux. Other risk factors include smoking, male sex, obesity, white race, hiatal hernia, and increasing age (particularly older than 50 years). Although Barrett esophagus is a risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma, its management and the need for screening or surveillance endoscopy are debatable. The annual incidence of progression to esophageal cancer is 0.12% to 0.33%; progression is more common in patients with high-grade dysplasia and long-segment Barrett esophagus. Screening endoscopy should be considered for patients with multiple risk factors, and those who have lesions with high-grade dysplasia should undergo endoscopic mucosal resection or other endoscopic procedures to remove the lesions. Although the cost-effectiveness is questionable, patients with nondysplastic Barrett esophagus can be followed with endoscopic surveillance. Lowgrade dysplasia should be monitored or eradicated via endoscopy. Although there is no evidence that medical or surgical therapies to reduce acid reflux prevent neoplastic progression, proton pump inhibitors can be used to help control reflux symptoms.