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Journal: Journal of community hospital internal medicine perspectives


A patient with a known biopsy of polyarteritis nodosa diagnosis presented with cyclic fevers, acute kidney injury, and progression of rash from macular to pustular, worsening despite being on antibiotics, without evidence of infection on multiple cultures. The patient had a pathological diagnosis from a skin biopsy of acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis syndrome, with a total resolution of rash, fevers, and acute kidney injury on treatment with pulse steroids.

Concepts: Inflammation, Biopsy, Pathology, Rheumatology, Vasculitis, Acute kidney injury, Polyarteritis nodosa, Diseases involving the fasciae


The pronounced prevalence of delirium in geriatric patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and its increased morbidity and mortality is a well-established phenomenon. The purpose of this review is to explore the potential use of dexmedetomidine in preventing or managing ICU delirium in older patients. Articles used were identified and selected through multiple search engines, including Google Scholar, PubMed, and MEDLINE. Keywords such as dexmedetomidine, delirium, geriatric, ICU delirium, delirium in elderly, and palliative were used to obtain the specific articles used for this paper and restricted to articles published in 1990 or later. Articles specifically looking at the use of dexmedetomidine as compared to a study drug and its potential for use in ICU patients, as opposed to overall reviews of dexmedetomidine, were compared. When compared to benzodiazepines for the prevention or treatment of ICU delirium in the elderly, dexmedetomidine was associated with a reduction in delirium, as well as decreased morbidity and mortality. Dexmedetomidine has also been shown to be effective in limiting risk factors associated with ICU delirium such as length and depth of sedation. As opposed to benzodiazepines or opiates, dexmedetomidine provides effective analgesia, sympatholysis, and anxiolysis without causing respiratory depression and allows a patient to more effectively interact with practitioners. The review of these nine articles indicates that these favorable attributes and overall decreased duration and incidence of delirium make dexmedetomidine a viable option in preventing or reducing ICU delirium in high-risk geriatric patients and as a palliative adjunct to help control symptoms and stressors.

Concepts: Geriatrics


Opioid dependence treatment traditionally involves methadone clinics, for which dispensing schedules can be cumbersome. Buprenorphine, a partial agonist of the mu receptor and antagonist of the kappa receptor, is a potential outpatient alternative to methadone. Funded by a grant from the State of Maryland’s Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC), the Buprenorphine Outpatient Outcomes Project (BOOP) evaluates the outcome of Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) treatment on abstinence from heroin use, rates of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, legal issues, and quality of life.

Concepts: Opioid, Receptor antagonist, Morphine, Opioid receptor, Naloxone, Buprenorphine, Methadone, Drug rehabilitation


The process of admitting patients from the emergency department (ED) to an academic internal medicine (AIM) service in a community teaching hospital is one fraught with variability and disorder. This results in an inconsistent volume of patients admitted to academic versus private hospitalist services and results in frustration of both ED and AIM clinicians. We postulated that implementation of a mobile application (app) would improve provider satisfaction and increase admissions to the academic service. The app was designed and implemented to be easily accessible to ED physicians, regularly updated by academic residents on call, and a real-time source of the number of open AIM admission spots. We found a significant improvement in ED and AIM provider satisfaction with the admission process. There was also a significant increase in admissions to the AIM service after implementation of the app. We submit that the implementation of a mobile app is a viable, cost-efficient, and effective method to streamline the admission process from the ED to AIM services at community-based hospitals.

Concepts: Medicine, Patient, Hospital, Physician, Personal digital assistant, Mobile software, Mobile computing


Background : Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common disease in the USA responsible for up to 10% of hospital mortality. Modified wells score (MWS) and D-dimer assay are used to categorize patients into high or low probability of PE. Patient with high probability need Computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA), while patients with low probability and low D-dimer can safely forgo the CTPA.Objectives:The aim of this study was to investigate the rate of inappropriate CTPA use in the emergency department of a community teaching hospital.Methods: A retrospective chart review of adult patients who underwent CTPA for suspected PE in the emergency department for 2015 was done. CTPA use was considered inappropriate if MWS was less than or equal to 4 and D-dimer was either not ordered or its value was less than 500 μg/L. Bivariate analysis with Fisher’s exact tests and Student’s t-tests as well as multivariate logistic regression analysis were done to examine relationship between study explanatory variables and study outcome.Results: 295 patients were included in the study. The mean age was 51.2(±14.5) years, 68.8% were females. The prevalence of PE was 5.4% and 41% of the CTPAs -were inappropriately ordered. Males were twice (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.2, 3.6) as likely as females to have an inappropriately ordered CTPA after controlling for a high MWS, age, and tobacco history.Conclusion: CTPA is overused to diagnose PE in the emergency department. Quality improvement projects are needed to encourage physicians to adhere to the current guidelines.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Statistics, Hospital, Medical imaging, Pulmonary embolism, CT pulmonary angiogram, Fisher's exact test


Background and objectives : Subclinical hypothyroidism is an asymptomatic condition with normal thyroxin and raised thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in primary health care (PHC) settings in Riyadh and explore the relationship of TSH level with age, gender, family history, body mass index, and co-morbid conditions.Subjects and methods: A cross-sectional study of adult visitors to nine satellites PHC clinics in military housing in Riyadh was carried out. TSH concentration and free T4 levels were measured. Data were collected by nurses and physicians during routine clinical practice in primary care. Descriptive analysis was performed on all variables in study, and relationships were explored using chi-square,t-test, analysis of variance, and linear regression.Results: A total of 340 out of 394 participants in the study gave blood samples. Subclinical hyperthyroidism was identified in 2.1% (p = .001) and subclinical hypothyroidism in 10.3% (p = .001) of the PHC visitors. TSH levels were found to be significantly higher (p = .047) in elderly population of ≥60 years and those with family history of thyroid disease. Non-significant upward trends were noted in TSH levels with hyperlipidemia and increasing blood pressure. No overt hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism was found in our study sample.Conclusion: Subclinical hypothyroidism has a prevalence of 10% of adults visiting PHC’s. TSH levels are higher in the elderly, which warrants screening of those aged 60 years and above.

Concepts: Health, Thyroid-stimulating hormone, Thyroid disease, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid, Thyroid hormone


Hospitalists, known as physicians, are an emerging group in the medical field that is focused on the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Specializing in hospital medicine, they often attract a mix of appreciation and criticism. In the present manuscript, we review the pros and cons of a hospitalist in the health-care system. Although experts agree that hospitalists add value to the health-care system by reducing costs, streamlining administrative processes, and contributing to improved health-care outcomes, there is a large degree of disagreement regarding the extent of hospitalist contribution to overall improvements on health-care outcomes. In this paper, new strategies to overcome reported shortcomings and to further improve the quality of health care are discussed.Abbreviations:SHM: Society of Hospital Medicine; BOOST: Better Outcomes by Optimizing Safe Transitions; RED: Re-Engineered Discharge; CHF: chronic heart failure; MI: myocardial infarction; ICU: intensive care unit; PACT: post-acute care transitions; MRSA: methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus; CINAHL: The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; PCP: primary care physician.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health insurance, Health, Myocardial infarction, Physician, Illness, Health science


IL-1 cytokines are mainly responsible for controlling a series of pro-inflammatory reactions induced in response to pathogen mediated tissue injury. Among the IL-1 cytokine family, IL-1 β results in upregulation of genes responsible for boosting immune system reactivity and inflammatory response. With growing pathophysiological relevance of IL-1β in a myriad of disease pathogenesis, new biological drugs have been developed in recent years. One such drug, Canakinumab, targeting IL-1β has been recently approved for clinical use. The recent results from the CANTOS (Canakinumab Anti-Inflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study) trial are encouraging in this aspect. The results suggest that anti-inflammatory therapy using canakinumab at a dose of 150 mg every 3 months led to significantly lower recurrent cardiovascular events than the placebo drug. These results were independent of lipid-lowering effects of these drugs. If the results are widely applicable, the CANTOS trial would reaffirm the hypothesis of atherothrombosis due to inflammation, hence supporting the need for a cytokine-based therapy for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the potential benefits of the phenomenal reduction in the inflammatory cascade induced by canakinumab should be carefully balanced against its long-term safety profile which is yet unknown. However, the inflammatory hypothesis of atherothrombosis supports a cytokine-based therapy for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the potential benefits from the reduction in inflammatory markers induced by canakinumab should be carefully balanced against its unknown long-term safety profile.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, Blood vessel, Cardiovascular disease, Anti-inflammatory, C-reactive protein, Cardiovascular diseases


Background : Teaching the practice of high-value care (HVC) is an increasingly important function of graduate medical education but best practices and long-term outcomes remain unknown.Objective: Whether a multimodal curriculum designed to address specific drivers of low-value care would affect resident attitudes, skills, and performance of HVC as tested by the Internal Medicine In-Training Exam (ITE).Methods: In 2012, we performed a baseline needs assessment among internal medicine residents at a community program regarding drivers of healthcare utilization. We then created a multimodal curriculum with online interactive worksheets, lectures, and faculty buy-in to target specific skills, knowledge, and culture deficiencies. Perceived drivers of care and performance on the Internal Medicine ITE were assessed yearly through 2016.Results: Fourteen of 27 (52%) residents completed the initial needs assessment while the curriculum was eventually seen by at least 24 of 27 (89%). The ITE was taken by every resident every year. Long-term, 3-year follow-up demonstrated persistent improvement in many drivers of utilization (patient requests, reliance on subspecialists, defensive medicine, and academic curiosity) and improvement with sustained high performance on the high-value component of the ITE.Conclusion: A multimodal curriculum targeting specific drivers of low-value care can change culture and lead to sustained improvement in the practice of HVC.

Concepts: Health care, Physician, Affect, Assessment, Performance, Medical school, Best practice, Resident


Overutilization of diagnostic imaging can lead to unnecessary interventions and subsequently can jeopardize patient safety. When ordered, the results of these images should always be interpreted in the appropriate clinical context taking into consideration the patient clinical presentation and the natural history of the diseases which are being investigated. We presented a case that demonstrates for the practicing physicians how violating these two notions can lead ultimately to patient harm.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms, Patient, Physician, Medical diagnosis, IMAGE, Nature, Safety