Items in FPM with MESH term: Family Practice
ABSTRACT: A large number of taxonomies are used to rate the quality of an individual study and the strength of a recommendation based on a body of evidence. We have developed a new grading scale that will be used by several family medicine and primary care journals (required or optional), with the goal of allowing readers to learn one taxonomy that will apply to many sources of evidence. Our scale is called the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy. It addresses the quality, quantity, and consistency of evidence and allows authors to rate individual studies or bodies of evidence. The taxonomy is built around the information mastery framework, which emphasizes the use of patient-oriented outcomes that measure changes in morbidity or mortality. An A-level recommendation is based on consistent and good-quality patient-oriented evidence; a B-level recommendation is based on inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence; and a C-level recommendation is based on consensus, usual practice, opinion, disease-oriented evidence, or case series for studies of diagnosis, treatment, prevention, or screening. Levels of evidence from 1 to 3 for individual studies also are defined. We hope that consistent use of this taxonomy will improve the ability of authors and readers to communicate about the translation of research into practice.
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.
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.
HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral - Article
ABSTRACT: Over the past decade, the annual number of new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has been relatively stable but remains unacceptably high (an estimated 40,000 new cases per year). Furthermore, the demographics for HIV infection are changing. Rates of new infections are declining in newborns, older men who have sex with men, and whites. However, rates of new infections are rising in young persons, women, Hispanics, and blacks. In 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued revised guidelines for HIV counseling, testing, and referral. The guidelines focus on the reduction of barriers to testing, voluntary routine testing of high-risk populations and persons with risk factors, case management and partner tracing for infected persons, and universal testing of pregnant women. Effective strategies for reducing HIV infection include behavioral interventions, comprehensive school-based HIV and sex education, access to sterile drug equipment, screening of the blood supply, and postexposure prophylaxis for health care workers.
ABSTRACT: Despite increased scientific knowledge about asthma and improved therapeutic options, the disease continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel has updated its clinical guidelines on asthma medications, prevention of disease progression, and patient self-management. Diagnostic criteria have not changed, and identification of the disease relies on the physician's analysis of the patient's symptoms, family history, and spirometric measurements of lung function. Classification of asthma severity also has not changed, but many obstacles remain, including the variability of asthma and the classification system's inability to account for physical activity levels, which may result in significant underestimation of the severity of asthma. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program recommends the use of written action plans with or without monitoring of peak expiratory flow, although evidence supporting these management techniques is inconclusive. Patients with asthma may benefit from earlier use of inhaled corticosteroids, which have been proven safe in the usual dosages. However, further studies are needed to determine whether inhaled corticosteroids can prevent the progression of asthma.
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.
ABSTRACT: Optimal outpatient treatment of systolic heart failure has three goals that should be pursued simultaneously: (1) control of risk factors for the development and progression of heart failure, (2) treatment of heart failure, and (3) education of patients. Control of risk factors includes treating hypertension, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, and eliminating the use of alcohol and tobacco. All patients with heart failure should be taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin-receptor blocker. In the absence of contraindications, an ACE inhibitor is preferred. In most patients, physicians should consider adding a beta blocker to ACE-inhibitor therapy. In patients with severe heart failure, spironolactone is a useful addition to baseline drug therapy, as is carvedilol (substitute carvedilol if patient is already taking a beta blocker). Patients with stable heart failure should be encouraged to begin and maintain a regular aerobic exercise program. Digoxin therapy may reduce the likelihood of hospitalization but does not reduce mortality. It must be monitored closely, with a target dosage level of 0.5 to 1.1 ng per mL. Symptoms may be controlled with the use of diuretics and restricted dietary sodium. Finally, patient education, with the patient's active participation in the care, is a key strategy in the management of heart failure. Periodic follow-up between scheduled office visits, which is essential in the long-term management of heart failure, may include telephone calls from the office nurse, maintenance of a daily symptom and weight diary, and participation in a disease-management program.
Diagnosis of Heart Failure in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Heart failure is a common, progressive, complex clinical syndrome with high morbidity and mortality. Coronary artery disease is its most common cause. The evaluation of symptomatic patients with suspected heart failure is directed at confirming the diagnosis, determining the cause, identifying concomitant illnesses, establishing the severity of heart failure, and guiding therapy. The initial evaluation should include a focused history and physical examination, a chest radiograph, and an electrocardiogram. The presence of heart failure can be confirmed by an echocardiogram. Heart failure is highly unlikely in the absence of dyspnea and an abnormal chest radiograph or electrocardiogram. Radionuclide angiography or contrast cineangiography may be necessary when clinical suspicion for heart failure is high and the echocardiogram is equivocal. Patients with confirmed heart failure should undergo additional testing, including a more detailed history and physical examination; a complete blood count; blood glucose measurement; liver function tests; serum electrolyte, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine measurements; lipid panel; urinalysis; and thyroid-stimulating hormone level. A serum ferritin level, human immunodeficiency virus test, antinuclear antibody assays, rheumatoid factor test, or metanephrine measurements may be required in selected patients. Patients with coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, exposure to cardiotoxic drugs, alcohol abuse, or a family history of cardiomyopathy are at high risk for heart failure and may benefit from routine screening.
Management of Vaginitis - Article
ABSTRACT: Common infectious forms of vaginitis include bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, and trichomoniasis. Vaginitis also can occur because of atrophic changes. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by proliferation of Gardnerella vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, and anaerobes. The diagnosis is based primarily on the Amsel criteria (milky discharge, pH greater than 4.5, positive whiff test, clue cells in a wet-mount preparation). The standard treatment is oral metronidazole in a dosage of 500 mg twice daily for seven days. Vulvovaginal candidiasis can be difficult to diagnose because characteristic signs and symptoms (thick, white discharge, dysuria, vulvovaginal pruritus and swelling) are not specific for the infection. Diagnosis should rely on microscopic examination of a sample from the lateral vaginal wall (10 to 20 percent potassium hydroxide preparation). Cultures are helpful in women with recurrent or complicated vulvovaginal candidiasis, because species other than Candida albicans (e.g., Candida glabrata, Candida tropicalis) may be present. Topical azole and oral fluconazole are equally efficacious in the management of uncomplicated vulvovaginal candidiasis, but a more extensive regimen may be required for complicated infections. Trichomoniasis may cause a foul-smelling, frothy discharge and, in most affected women, vaginal inflammatory changes. Culture and DNA probe testing are useful in diagnosing the infection; examinations of wet-mount preparations have a high false-negative rate. The standard treatment for trichomoniasis is a single 2-g oral dose of metronidazole. Atrophic vaginitis results from estrogen deficiency. Treatment with topical estrogen is effective.