Items in FPM with MESH term: Family Practice
Common Conditions of the Achilles Tendon - Article
ABSTRACT: The Achilles tendon, the largest tendon in the body, is vulnerable to injury because of its limited blood supply and the combination of forces to which it is subjected. Aging and increased activity (particularly velocity sports) increase the chance of injury to the Achilles tendon. Although conditions of the Achilles tendon are occurring with increasing frequency because the aging U.S. population is remaining active, the diagnosis is missed in about one fourth of cases. Injury onset can be gradual or sudden, and the course of healing is often lengthy. A thorough history and specific physical examination are essential to make the appropriate diagnosis and facilitate a specific treatment plan. The mainstay of treatment for tendonitis, peritendonitis, tendinosis, and retrocalcaneobursitis is ice, rest, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but physical therapy, orthoties, and surgery may be necessary in recalcitrant cases. In patients with tendon rupture, casting or surgery is required. Appropriate treatment often leads to full recovery.
ABSTRACT: Vaccines have turned many childhood diseases into distant memories in industrialized countries. However, questions have been raised about the safety of some vaccines because of rare but serious adverse effects that have been attributed to them. Pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site are common local reactions to vaccines. Fever and irritability may occur after some immunizations. Currently, no substantial evidence links measles-mumps-rubella vaccine to autism, or hepatitis B vaccine to multiple sclerosis. Thimerosal is being eliminated from routine childhood vaccines because of concerns that multiple immunizations with vaccines containing this preservative could exceed recommended mercury exposures. Family physicians should be knowledgeable about vaccines so that they can inform their patients of the benefits of immunization and any proven risks. If immunization rates fall, the incidence of vaccine-preventable illnesses may rise.
ABSTRACT: The presence of family members at an office visit creates unique opportunities and challenges for the physician while interviewing the patient. The physician must address issues of confidentiality, privacy, and agency. Special skills are required to respectfully and efficiently involve family members, while keeping the patient at the center of the visit. A core set of interviewing skills exists for office visit interviews with family members present. These skills include building rapport with each participant by identifying their individual issues and perspectives, and encouraging participation by listening to and addressing the concerns of all persons. Physicians should also avoid triangulation, maintain confidentiality, and verify agreement with the plan. It may be necessary to use more advanced family interviewing skills, including providing direction despite problematic communications; managing conflict; negotiating common ground; and referring members to family therapy.
Lymphadenopathy and Malignancy - Article
ABSTRACT: The majority of patients presenting with peripheral lymphadenopathy have easily identifiable causes that are benign or self-limited. Among primary care patients presenting with lymphadenopathy, the prevalence of malignancy has been estimated to be as low as 1.1 percent. The critical challenge for the primary care physician is to identify which cases are secondary to malignancies or other serious conditions. Key risk factors for malignancy include older age, firm, fixed nodal character, duration of greater than two weeks, and supraclavicular location. Knowledge of these risk factors is critical to determining the management of unexplained lymphadenopathy. In addition, a complete exposure history, review of associated symptoms, and a thorough regional examination help determine whether lymphadenopathy is of benign or malignant origin. Unexplained lymphadenopathy without signs or symptoms of serious disease or malignancy can be observed for one month, after which specific testing or biopsy should be performed. While modern hematopathologic technologies have improved the diagnostic yields of fine-needle aspiration, excisional biopsy remains the initial diagnostic procedure of choice. The overall evaluation of lymphadenopathy, with a focus on findings suggestive of malignancy, as well as an approach to the patient with unexplained lymphadenopathy, will be reviewed.
ABSTRACT: Chemical dependency is a common, chronic disease that affects up to 25 percent of patients seen in primary care practices. The treatment goal for patients recovering from chemical dependency should be to avoid relapse. This requires physicians to have an open, nonjudgmental attitude and specific expertise about the implications of addiction for other health problems. First-line treatment for chemical dependency should be nonpharmacologic, but when medication is necessary, physicians should avoid drugs that have the potential for abuse or addiction. Medications that sedate or otherwise impair judgment also should be avoided in the recovering patient. Psychiatric illnesses should be aggressively treated, because untreated symptoms increase the risk of relapse into chemical dependency. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help to lower alcohol consumption in depressed patients, and desipramine may help to facilitate abstinence in persons addicted to cocaine. If insomnia extends beyond the acute or postacute withdrawal period, trazodone may be an effective treatment. If nonpharmacologic management of pain is not possible, nonaddictive medications should be used. However, if non-addictive medications fail, long-acting opiates used under strict supervision may be considered. Uncontrolled pain in itself is a relapse risk.
ABSTRACT: Joint injection of the elbow is a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool for the family physician. In this article, the injection procedures for the elbow joint, medial and lateral epicondylitis, and olecranon bursitis are reviewed. Persistent pain related to inflammatory conditions responds well to injection in the region. Indications for elbow joint injection include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Corticosteroid injection is an accepted treatment option for medial and lateral epicondylitis. Olecranon bursa aspiration and injection are useful when that bursa is inflamed. The proper techniques, choice and quantity of pharmaceuticals, and appropriate follow-up essential for effective outcomes are discussed.
ABSTRACT: Although the overall incidence of gastric cancer has steadily declined in the United States, it is estimated that more than 12,000 persons died from gastric cancer in 2003. The incidence of distal stomach tumors has greatly declined, but reported cases of proximal gastric carcinomas, including tumors at the gastroesophageal junction, have increased. Early diagnosis of gastric cancer is difficult because most patients are asymptomatic in the early stage. Weight loss and abdominal pain often are late signs of tumor progression. Chronic atrophic gastritis, Helicobacter pylori infection, smoking, heavy alcohol use, and several dietary factors have been linked to increased risks for gastric cancer. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy is the preferred diagnostic modality for evaluation of patients in whom stomach cancer is suspected. Accurate staging of gastric wall invasion and lymph node involvement is important for determining prognosis and appropriate treatment. Endoscopic ultrasonography, in combination with computed tomographic scanning and operative lymph node dissection, may be involved in staging the tumor. Treatment with surgery alone offers a high rate of failure. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have not improved survival rates when used as single modalities, but combined therapy has shown some promise. Primary prevention, by control of modifiable risk factors and increased surveillance of persons at increased risk, is important in decreasing morbidity and mortality.
ABSTRACT: Urticaria (i.e., pruritic, raised wheals) and angioedema (i.e., deep mucocutaneous swelling) occur in up to 25 percent of the U.S. population. Vasoactive mediators released from mast cells and basophils produce the classic wheal and flare reaction. Diagnosis can be challenging, especially if symptoms are chronic or minimally responsive to therapy. A thorough medical history, physical examination, and methodical investigation are necessary to uncover diagnostic clues. Although serious medical illness can occur concurrently with chronic urticaria, acute urticaria generally is benign and self-limited. The mainstay of therapy for urticaria is avoidance of known triggering agents, judicious use of oral corticosteroids, and treatment with long-acting second-generation antihistamines, H2-receptor antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory leukotriene antagonists. Consultation for investigative therapy may be necessary if symptoms continue despite a stepwise approach to diagnosis and therapy.
Management of Acute Nasal Fractures - Article
ABSTRACT: In cases of facial trauma, nasal fractures account for approximately 40 percent of bone injuries. Treatment in the primary care setting begins with evaluating the injury, taking an accurate history of the situation in which the injury occurred, and ascertaining how the face and nose appeared and functioned before the injury occurred. Serious injuries should be treated, then nasal inspection and palpation may be performed to assess for airway patency, mucosal laceration, and septal deformity. A thorough examination of the nose and surrounding structures, including the orbits, mandible, and cervical spine, should be completed. Imaging studies are necessary for facial or mandibular fractures. Patients with septal hematomas, cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea, malocclusion, or extraocular movement defects should be referred to a subspecialist. Treatment in the primary care setting consists of evaluation, pain and infection management, minimal debridement and, when the physician is appropriately trained, closed reduction. If an immediate referral is not indicated, close follow-up, possibly with a subspecialist, should be arranged within three to five days after the injury.
An Approach to Interpreting Spirometry - Article
ABSTRACT: Spirometry is a powerful tool that can be used to detect, follow, and manage patients with lung disorders. Technology advancements have made spirometry much more reliable and relatively simple to incorporate into a routine office visit. However, interpreting spirometry results can be challenging because the quality of the test is largely dependent on patient effort and cooperation, and the interpreter's knowledge of appropriate reference values. A simplified and stepwise method is key to interpreting spirometry. The first step is determining the validity of the test. Next, the determination of an obstructive or restrictive ventilatory patten is made. If a ventilatory pattern is identified, its severity is graded. In some patients, additional tests such as static lung volumes, diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, and bronchodilator challenge testing are needed. These tests can further define lung processes but require more sophisticated equipment and expertise available only in a pulmonary function laboratory.