Clinical Questions

How Should You Approach A Patient with an Incidental Finding of a Portal Vein Thrombosis?

February 7, 2007
How Should You Approach A Patient with an Incidental Finding of a Portal Vein Thrombosis?

A  70 year old man  with a history of prostate cancer, status post radiation treatment in August 2003, a history of abdominal surgery for unknown reasons, and a history of heavy alcohol use was seen at the VA.   The patient was referred for a complaint of bright red blood per rectum and was incidentally noted to have elevated liver enzymes. 

Colonoscopy revealed blood in the rectosigmoid, dilated vessels in the rectum and angioectasia, thought to be secondary to the radiation therapy. In addition, the patient …

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Ethics 101-How Do You Approach a Jehovah’s Witness Patient Who Needs a Transfusion?

February 5, 2007
Ethics 101-How Do You Approach a Jehovah’s Witness Patient Who Needs a Transfusion?

A 76 year old man with a history of coronary artery disease, diabetes and hypertension was brought in by his wife with two days of lethargy, slurred speech and right arm weakness. On presentation, the patient was awake and intermittently involved in conversation.  He was afebrile, with a pulse of 90 and blood pressure of 166/98  His exam was remarkable for dysarthria, orientation only to person, pinpoint pupils, left sided tongue deviation, 3/5 motor strength in the right upper extremity, 4/5 motor strength in the …

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Bedside Rounds #1: Why is a pulsus paradoxus not a paradox?

February 1, 2007
Bedside Rounds #1: Why is a pulsus paradoxus not a paradox?

Welcome to our inaugural Bedside Rounds a new regular feature of Clinical Correlations.  Here you will learn not only practical physical diagnosis pearls, but also the historical context in which these findings were discovered.

Commentary By: Judith Brenner MD, Associate Program Director, NYU Internal Medicine Residency Program

When you take a deep breath in, what happens? Because of an increase in the negative intrathoracic pressure, blood is sucked into the right side of the heart. Temporarily, a filled right ventricle can bulge into the …

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How Should You Treat Agitation in Patients with Dementia?

January 29, 2007
How Should You Treat Agitation in Patients with Dementia?

Case: A 74 year old male with a history of hyperthyroidism, now treated and euthyroid, and with longstanding slowly progressive Alzheimer’s, has now become increasingly agitated at home, pacing the floors and not sleeping. In light of side effects and the recent warning against the use of atypical antipsychotics and the side effects of the older medications, what kind of stepwise approach to medications would you recommend to use to treat his agitation?

Commentary By Brian Bronson, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Director Consultation

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When Should You Order a T Wave Alternans Test?

January 25, 2007
When Should You Order a T Wave Alternans Test?

A 58 year old male is admitted for "presyncope".  He has not had chest  pain and his baseline ECG is unchanged.  The patient has an ischemic cardiomyopathy with an ejection fraction of 39% with mild reversible changes on a stress echo that was done 5 months prior to admission.  On telemetry, the patient has frequent  polymorphic premature ventricular contractions. The cardiology consult recommends a T wave alternans test.  What is the reason for this test?

Commentary By: Neil Bernstein, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cardiology/EPS…

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How Aggressively Should You Treat a Patient with a Pulmonary Embolus?

January 17, 2007
How Aggressively Should You Treat a Patient with a Pulmonary Embolus?

An otherwise healthy 57 year old patient presents with shortness of breath and pleuritic chest pain.  The patient is hemodynamically stable without evidence of shock.  A chest CT reveals a pulmonary embolus.

Questions: 1. When should an echocardiogram to assess for right heart strain be performed in a patient with a pulmonary embolism?  Should stable patients without evidence of shock have a routine echo once a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism is made?

2. If the echo shows signs of right heart strain, but the patient …

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Morning Report: How Do You Approach a Patient With Bronchiectasis

January 16, 2007
Morning Report: How Do You Approach a Patient With Bronchiectasis

Chief complaint: 85 year old female presents with worsening shortness of breath for one day.

History of present illness:

The patient’s history of present illness begins at the age of 60 when she was diagnosed with asthma, for which she had been treated with inhaled anticholinergics, beta agonists and intermittent oral steroids.  Twelve years prior to admission, the patient was diagnosed with diabetes, which was managed with oral medications.  Two years prior to admission, the patient was diagnosed with Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) at an …

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A Debate: Should Smokers be Denied Surgery?

January 12, 2007
A Debate: Should Smokers be Denied Surgery?

In last week’s issue of the British Medical Journal, two physicians argue about the merits of refusing to perform elective surgeries on smokers. The debate has been spurred by a primary care group in the UK who announced last year that it would take smokers off waiting lists for surgery in an attempt to contain costs. The proponent, Matthew Peters, argues that, for elective procedures such as plastic, reconstructive, and orthopedic surgeries, the rates of complications in smokers are so high that the increased costs …

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To Lavage or Not to Lavage?

January 10, 2007
To Lavage or Not to Lavage?

Case and Commentary by Minisha Sood PGY-3 and Ilseung Cho Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology

The patient is a 57 year-old man with a past history of hypetension, hyperlipidemia, hepatitis B/C cirrhosis and coronary artery disease status/post a non-st-elevation mi in August 2006, during which time he was on a heparin drip and developed an upper gastrointestinal bleed. Upper endoscopy at that time revealed non-bleeding esophageal varices and he was discharged on a beta blocker. He again presented to Tisch hospital in December 2006 with complaints …

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Why Are Breast Cancer Rates Trending Down?

January 9, 2007
Why Are Breast Cancer Rates Trending Down?

The recent finding of decreasing breast cancer rates made headlines throughout the media; including a NY Times article entitled, Reversing Trend, Big Drop is seen in Breast Cancer on December 15, 2006.

Striking epidemiological facts tells us that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., and only second to lung cancer as the most common cause of cancer deaths. It is estimated that approximately 212,920 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the year 2006, and 40,970 women …

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Do Statins Get Along With Hepatitis C?

January 4, 2007
Do Statins Get Along With Hepatitis C?

A 53 year old male with chronic hepatitis C and type 2 diabetes is found to have a moderately elevated cholesterol.

1. Is it safe to start a statin?

2. Do statins have any effect on viral replication?

Comentary By Ed Bini, M.D. Associate Professor/Director Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research

The many benefits of statins far outweigh the risks associated with this class of medications. However, statins are known to have the potential to cause hepatotoxicity. The most common form of statin-induced hepatotoxicity is elevations in …

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Does the Existence of Community Acquired MRSA Change Empiric Therapy for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections?

January 3, 2007
Does the Existence of Community Acquired MRSA Change Empiric Therapy for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections?

A 58 year old man with type 2 diabetes and chronic venous insufficiency/recurrent lower extremity cellulitis presents with fever and a left lower extrmity ulcer with purulent drainage. He’s been successfully treated in the past with both Unasyn/Augmentin or Levaquin.  In the face of community acquired methicillin resistant staph aureus (CA-MRSA),  have guidelines for skin and soft tissue infections changed?

Commentary By Howard Leaf, M.D. Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

 

1. What would your first line treatment be in a patient

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