Clinical Questions

What is Wellens’ Syndrome?

October 7, 2009
What is Wellens’ Syndrome?

Erin Ducharme MD

Faculty peer reviewed

Wellens’ syndrome refers to a pattern of ECG signs occurring during chest-pain free periods in patients with unstable angina, heralding critical, proximal left anterior descending artery (LAD) stenosis . The eponym honors Dr. Hein J.J. Wellens who first described this ECG phenomenon in 1982. Wellens and colleagues identified a subgroup of patients with unstable angina who demonstrated a pattern of inverted precordial T-waves which strongly correlated with early large anterior myocardial infarction (MI)…

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When Should You Obtain a Renal Biopsy? Indications, Risks, Follow-up and Value

September 30, 2009
When Should You Obtain a Renal Biopsy? Indications, Risks, Follow-up and Value

Frederick Gandolfo MD

Faculty peer reviewed

At a recent conference on renal transplantation, the importance of early renal biopsy for the diagnosis of acute rejection was emphasized. As busy practitioners of general internal medicine, we rarely have the opportunity to learn the details of a subspecialty procedure such as renal biopsy. However, knowing the details of these procedures is important in providing care for these specific patients. What are the indications, risks, and follow-up care required for the renal…

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Can you offer a liver transplant to a patient with HIV?

August 28, 2009
Can you offer a liver transplant to a patient with HIV?

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Uzma Sarwar MD

Coincident with greater use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), chronic liver disease has become one of the leading causes of death amongst HIV patients. This reflects the high prevalence of chronic liver diseases in the HIV-infected; almost a third of HIV-seropositive patients are afflicted with liver disease, predominantly as a result of hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C co-infection. Given their increased life-span, many HIV-infected patients now progress to end-stage liver disease, where…

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Why is Syphilis Still Sensitive to Penicillin?

July 30, 2009
Why is Syphilis Still Sensitive to Penicillin?

Sam Rougas MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

It seems that every week a new article in a major newspaper is reporting what most infectious disease physicians have been preaching for several years. Antibiotic resistance is rapidly spreading. Infections such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcal Aureus, Extremely Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, and Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus have journeyed from the intensive care units to the locker rooms of the National Football League. That being said, some bacteria have strangely and until recently inexplicably behaved. Syphilis, a disease caused…

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How Should You Approach a Patient Co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C?

June 11, 2009
How Should You Approach a Patient Co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C?

Uzma Sarwar MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

With advancement in therapy, life expectancy has significantly increased among HIV-infected patients, and patients are now more likely to succumb to chronic disease processes. At present, approximately one third of deaths in HIV patients are related to liver disease, which has become the leading cause of death amongst HIV patients. The risk of death from liver disease in HIV patients is inversely related to their CD4 count. Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) accounts…

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Does Acetazolamide Prevent Altitude Sickness?

May 7, 2009
Does Acetazolamide Prevent Altitude Sickness?

Seema Pursnani MD

Because your parents have designated you as the family doctor, your Uncle Joe calls to ask you if he should take this medication called Diamox before going trekking in the Himalayas. You work at Bellevue in New York City: who climbs mountains here? What do you say?

Why do illnesses develop from changes in altitude?

The essential culprit is the fall in atmospheric pressure with an increase in altitude. While at sea level, barometric pressure (Pb) is ~760mm Hg (1atm), whereas at…

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Should we treat asymptomatic autoimmune hepatitis?

April 30, 2009
Should we treat asymptomatic autoimmune hepatitis?

Bani Chander MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a progressive, inflammatory disease of the liver of unknown etiology and may progress to cirrhosis. While it is does have a predilection for women, this disease entity crosses genders and ethnic groups, and may occur in both adults and children. AIH is characterized by a fluctuating course and is often associated with autoimmune features including hypergammaglobulinemia, circulating serum autoantibodies, and hepatitis with lymphoplasmacytic infiltration on liver biopsy . Autoimmune…

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The Skinny on Cachexia…Can it be Treated?

April 22, 2009
The Skinny on Cachexia…Can it be Treated?

Michael T. Tees, MD, MPH

On the wards and in the clinic, the physician is frequently presented with a patient with a decreased appetite and alarming weight loss. The patient is likely frustrated with their own fraility, the family is upset at the poor nutritional state of their loved one, but the healthcare provider should be the most concerned. This clinical presentation without a prior diagnosis is worrisome, and if the patient does have an underlying etiology, this likely represents progression.…

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Clinical Questions: How do you dose argatroban?

April 16, 2009
Clinical Questions: How do you dose argatroban?

Frederick Gandolfo, MD

Case: An 85 year-old woman admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and after a prolonged hospital course developed heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). She is currently being treated with argatroban and her platelet counts are recovering. You are the covering physician and are called by the lab for an INR of 12 on her routine labs. The patient shows no signs of bleeding and she is not on warfarin. The PTT at the time…

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What is the Role of Colchicine in Recurrent Pericarditis?

March 14, 2009
What is the Role of Colchicine in Recurrent Pericarditis?

Commentary by Sabina Berezovskaya MD, PGY-3

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Up to 32% of patients with acute pericarditis will have a recurrent episode. Acute attacks are commonly precipitated by infections, malignancy, cardiac trauma, myocardial infection, or autoimmune disease. Recurrent pericarditis usually presents with symptoms akin to the acute attack, including chest pain, fever, pericardial rub, typical electrocardiographic findings (i.e. diffuse ST elevations and PR depressions), pericardial effusion and, infrequently, tamponade. The time to relapse after acute pericarditis usually occurs within 18 to 20 months; however some report recurrences…

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Real Time Clinical Question: Rheumatology

February 13, 2009
Real Time Clinical Question: Rheumatology

Commentary by Jon-Emile Kenny MD, PGY- 2 

Faculty Peer Reviewed

At morning report, the case of a 55 F with known dermatomyositis (DM), and interstitial lung involvement who had presented to the hospital with increasing dyspnea was presented.  The discussion of the case opened with the cardinal manifestations of DM including proximal muscle weakness as diagnosed with EMG, cutaneous manifestations such as the heliotrope rash, the shawl sign, Gottron’s papules, Reynaud’s, and ‘Mechanics Hand’, and the systemic manifestations such as interstitial lung disease.…

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Should All Patients with Cellulitis Be Treated for Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus?

January 22, 2009
Should All Patients with Cellulitis Be Treated for Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus?

Commentary by Melanie Maslow, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Medicine, NYUSOM, Chief, Infectious Diseases, New York Harbor Healthcare System, NY

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Cellulitis is an acute spreading infection of the skin extending to the deep subcutaneous tissue characterized by pain, swelling, erythema and warmth. Cellulitis in the non-neutropenic patient, in the absence of bite wounds, salt or fresh water exposure, and coexisting ulcers is usually caused by Gram-positive pathogens, the most common being the beta-hemolytic streptococci and S .aureus, including methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant…

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