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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


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


Niacin is a form of vitamin B3 which is used for the medical treatment of hyperlipidemia and niacin deficiency. However, within the last few years, it is being advertised on the Internet as a quick way to detoxify the human body in an attempt to evade urine drug tests. This claim is without any medical or scientific evidence and as a result, many cases have been reported where young adults have ended up with niacin toxicity. In this case report, we discuss a rare presentation of niacin toxicity and the effects Internet has had on the healthcare being practised by both the physicians and the patients themselves.

Concepts: Medicine, Niacin, Illness, Human body, Pellagra, World Wide Web, Tests, Drug test


Synthetic cathinones represent the latest genre of new drugs of abuse, which are increasing in popularity in part because they are readily available and because they are not detected by routine drug testing. They provide a cheaper substitute to stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine and are sold on the internet and in retail establishments as ‘bath salts,’ ‘plant food,’ or ‘research chemicals.’ We report a case involving a 21-year-old male who suffered arrest-related death due to intoxication with N-ethylpentylone, a new cathinone derivative. He reportedly left his house to smoke marijuana and returned displaying extremely odd behavior. The patient was unresponsive upon presentation to the emergency room and was intubated after suffering cardiac arrest. Clinical laboratory values revealed elevated lactic acidosis, hyperkalemia, rhabdomyolysis, and renal injury. His condition continued to worsen despite medical management. Sudden cardiac arrest occurred again 72 hours into his hospital stay and the patient was pronounced dead. Post-mortem toxicology testing with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry determined the presence of N-ethylpentylone in the urine. This case report details the behavior effects, clinical presentation, and autopsy findings for N-ethylpentylone drug intoxication.


Fetal Hemoglobin (HbF, α2γ2) is produced from the eighth week of gestation, constitutes 60 - 80 % of total hemoglobin by birth, which is then replaced with adult Hemoglobin A1 (HbA1: α2β2) by 6-12 months. Hereditary Persistence of Fetal Hemoglobin (HPFH) is a rare benign asymptomatic genetic disorder where the HbF persists, and incidentally discovered on screening for other hemoglobinopathies. In adults, the variation in HbF levels could also be associated with other disease states, including hemoglobinopathies, leukemias and bone marrow failure syndromes. Here we present a case of a young asymptomatic female with the incidental finding of HPFH who was misdiagnosed as the sickle cell disease. It is important to have awareness about HPFH and should be distinguished from other causes of elevated HbF.


Kratom use as a herbal supplement is on the rise in the United States, with reported medical outcomes and lethal effects suggesting a public health threat. Even though the Drug Enforcement Administration has included kratom on its drugs of concern list and the FDA has published a press release to identify it as an opioid with a potential for abuse, its therapeutic and side effects are still not well defined in the literature. Here, we present a case of a 32-year-old man with a history of kratom use who became acutely ill with a brief prodromal illness, followed by jaundice and elevated liver enzymes showing a cholestatic picture, and his successful treatment. In this case, we emphasize the need for awareness of kratom exposure as a key contributor in the expansion of the opioid crisis, with therapeutic benefits earned at the expense of potentially lethal side effects.


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 use of bedside ultrasound over the past few decades has created a new wave of options for visualizing pathological processes allowing for faster and better detection of disease. We aimed to evaluate the reliability of focused cardiac ultrasound (FCU) performed by first-year internal medicine residents at a community hospital after a short period of training. They received a two-hour lecture and initially performed a supervised FCU followed by ten unsupervised/independent FCUs each. The four parameters that were assessed were left systolic ventricular function, right systolic ventricular function, presence of pericardial effusion, and presence of IVC dilation. Interpretation and analysis of ultrasound images were then carried out by both the residents and an attending physician with expertise in FCU analysis and interpretation. Cohen’s Kappa values were obtained comparing the results found by the interns versus the attending. Our findings indicate that more training is required for reliable analysis of FCU by first-year medical residents. Our results also emphasize the need to carefully evaluate the medical residents' FCU skills after the training.


Background: Although the prevalence of overweight and obesity (OW/OB) has increased in the last three decades, studies show that these conditions are sub-optimally documented by physicians. Health information technology tools have varying effects on improving documentation of OW/OB but often have to be complemented with other interventions to be effective. Objective: Upon identifying low rates of documentation of diagnoses of overweight and obesity by resident and attending physicians, despite the use of an electronic health record (EHR) with automated BMI calculations, we performed a quality improvement (QI) project to improve documentation of these diagnoses for patients in our community hospital primary care clinic. Methods: The EHR was reviewed to determine documentation rates by resident and attending physicians between 1 March 2018 and 31 September 2018. We collected pre-intervention data, developed interventions, and implemented tests of change using Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to improve documentation of OW/OB. Results: Documentation of overweight and obesity diagnoses increased from a baseline of 46% to 79% over a 20-week period after initiation of our project. Conclusion: We demonstrate the successful implementation of resident-led, multi-faceted interventions in a team-based QI project to optimize documentation of OW/OB in the EHR.