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Dyspnea, episodic [keywords]
- Fatal neck necrotizing cellulitis in a patient with Riedel's thyroiditis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Thyroid 2013 Mar 25.
Background:Riedel's thyroiditis (RT) is a rare chronic disease of the thyroid gland. In clinical practice, the first-line treatment is corticosteroids in symptomatic patients and in most cases the prognosis is favourable. Here we report a case of Riedel's thyroiditis with the development of necrotizing cellulitis of the neck after a wedge biopsy and during glucocorticoid treatment Patient Findings: An 81-year-old immunocompetent man presented with dysphonia and episodic dyspnea. An enlarged, hard and fixed thyroid mass was palpated and fibroscopic examination revealed a bilateral vocal cord immobility. A wedge biopsy was taken and a tracheotomy was performed. The histopathology was consistent with the diagnosis of Riedel's thyroiditis. The patient underwent a glucocorticoid treatment. After one month, an excavation of the surface of the neck appeared. Despite intravenous adapted antibiotic treatment and surgical debridement of the tissue necrosis, we observed a dramatic extension of cervical necrosis to the thorax. The patient died of severe sepsis 15 days after the surgery.
Summary:In this patient, the diagnosis of Riedel's thyroiditis was made based on the clinical and histological criteria previously reported in the literature. In most cases, Riedel's thyroiditis has a benign course and mortality is extremely rare. Glucocorticoid therapy is usually effective and can lead to long-term remission. Here the patient developed a fatal neck necrotizing cellulitis 1 month after thyroid biopsy and glucocorticoid treatment.
Conclusion:Massive necrotizing infection of the neck is rare and usually occurs as a complication of traumatic wounds in diabetic patients. We are unaware of similar cases in the literature of fatal neck necrotizing cellulitis in a patient with Riedel's thyroiditis.
- Episodes of breathlessness: Types and patterns - a qualitative study exploring experiences of patients with advanced diseases. [Journal Article]
- Palliat Med 2013 Jun; 27(6):524-32.
Background:Despite the high prevalence and impact of episodic breathlessness, information about characteristics and patterns is scarce.
Aim:To explore the experience of patients with advanced disease suffering from episodic breathlessness, in order to describe types and patterns. Design and participants: Qualitative design using in-depth interviews with patients suffering from advanced stages of chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or motor neurone disease. As part of the interviews, patients were asked to draw a graph to illustrate typical patterns of breathlessness episodes. Interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using Framework Analysis. The graphs were grouped according to their patterns.
Results:Fifty-one participants (15 chronic heart failure, 14 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 13 lung cancer and 9 motor neurone disease) were included (mean age 68.2 years, 30 of 51 men, mean Karnofsky 63.1, mean breathlessness intensity 3.2 of 10). Five different types of episodic breathlessness were described: triggered with normal level of breathlessness, triggered with predictable response (always related to trigger level, e.g. slight exertion causes severe breathlessness), triggered with unpredictable response (not related to trigger level), non-triggered attack-like (quick onset, often severe) and wave-like (triggered or non-triggered, gradual onset). Four patterns of episodic breathlessness could be identified based on the graphs with differences regarding onset and recovery of episodes. These did not correspond with the types of breathlessness described before.
Conclusion:Patients with advanced disease experience clearly distinguishable types and patterns of episodic breathlessness. The understanding of these will help clinicians to tailor specific management strategies for patients who suffer from episodes of breathlessness.
- Acceptability and preferences of six different routes of drug application for acute breathlessness: a comparison study between the United Kingdom and Germany. [Comparative Study, Journal Article]
- J Palliat Med 2012 Dec; 15(12):1374-81.
Opioids are the drugs of choice for management of breathlessness in advanced disease, but acute episodic breathlessness remains difficult to manage. New routes of opioid applications with quicker onset of action seem attractive for the management of episodic breathlessness.This study aimed to determine the acceptability and preference of different routes of opioid applications in patients suffering from breathlessness due to advanced disease.The study consisted of structured face-to-face interviews with patients suffering from breathlessness due to lung cancer (LC), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart failure (CHF), and motor neurone disease (MND). Images and explanation were used to illustrate six application forms (oral, inhaled, sublingual, intranasal, buccal, transmucosal).Participants numbered 119 (UK n=48, Germany n=71), 60% male, mean age 67.7 years (SD 9.9); 50% suffered from COPD. Inhaled was the most accepted (87%) and preferred (68%) route of application, followed by sublingual (45%/13%) and intranasal (42%/8%). The oral was least accepted (24%) and least preferred (9%) although nearly all participants had previous experiences with it (97%). Ratings were similar in both countries but different for preferences of sublingual (UK>Germany) and intranasal (Germany>UK). In general, participants from the UK rated more often "yes" for acceptability of all routes compared to Germany.Inhaled was the most accepted and preferred route of application, but no route seemed to be acceptable to all patients. Therefore, individual patient preferences should be explored before drug prescription to enhance compliance and convenience.
- [Prevalence and determinants of atypical presentation of acute coronary syndrome]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Acta Med Port 2011 Dec.:307-18.
Knowledge of the characteristics of patients with atypical presentation of acute coronary syndromes may contribute to increased sensitivity in diagnosis in a given population. The purpose of this study is to quantify the prevalence of atypical presentation, to identify its determinants, and to describe the presenting symptoms in cases of acute coronary syndrome at the emergency department of Hospital São João, Porto.Systematic sample of 288 emergency admissions with a confirmed diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome in 2007. Atypical presentation was defined as absence of chest pain and/or syncope.The prevalence of atypical presentation was 20.5% [95% confidence interval (CI): 16.0 to 25.5], with no important variation by gender. It increased with age and was more frequent in cases of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. In multivariate analysis, atypical presentation was associated with age [>70 versus ≤ 50 years, odds ratio (OR)=3.45; 95%CI: 1.03-11.61] and it was about four times less likely in the presence of history of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia and smoking. A history of heart failure was independently associated with a higher likelihood of acute coronary syndrome with atypical presentation (OR = 4.15, 95%CI 1.50-11.46). Among the 223 cases who had chest pain or discomfort, a growing, oppressive, prolonged (longer than 30 minutes), recurrent and episodic pain prevailed. Among other symptoms, dyspnea was the most frequently reported, either as the main symptom in cases of atypical presentation or concurrently with typical symptoms.Factors associated with atypical presentation are consistent with those described in other populations. Using routine clinical data allowed access to a large data base on a representative sample of patients admitted to the emergency department of a third-level hospital that serves a large part of the local urban population. In medical records, data are unstandardized and heterogeneous in validity and detail.One fifth of the episodes of acute coronary syndrome have atypical presentation, and this proportion is higher in older ages. Previous history of ischemic heart disease or its classical risk factors are associated with typical symptoms, while heart failure is associated with atypical presentation. Presentation in atypical cases is highly variable and does not allow the identification of a pattern that would justify lowering the threshold for suspicion of acute coronary syndrome.
- Diagnosis of asthma - a new approach. [Journal Article, Review]
- Allergy 2012 Jun; 67(6):713-7.
Current definition of asthma involves four cornerstones: inflammation, hyperresponsiveness, bronchoconstriction, and symptoms. In research, the symptoms have had the slightest attention. According to international guidelines, the asthma symptoms are episodic breathlessness, wheeze, cough, tightness of the chest, and shortness of breath. As there are several symptoms, a primary question is how they are related to bronchoconstriction, the main clinical feature of asthma. Symptoms and lung function tests are regularly used for the evaluation of clinical health status and effect of treatment. However, there is no or poor correlation between these two variables, which means that they represent different mechanisms. Reduced lung function, such as a low FEV(1) , represents bronchial constriction, what do the symptoms represent? Some symptoms such as breathlessness and shortness of breath seem not to be evidence-based asthma symptoms. Focusing on bronchial obstruction is important in view of the potential risk of asthma attacks, but nonobstructive symptoms occur frequently and may also cause severe discomfort and poor quality of life. Interpreting all symptoms as signs of bronchoconstriction (asthma) may lead to misinterpretation when assessing health status and effect of treatment. Although a 'soft' variable, the strength of symptoms is that they are representing various mechanisms. The physiological preconditions for control and defense of respiration must be considered in the diagnostic process, regardless of inflammation, allergy, psychology, or other etiological factors. Based on studies on dyspnea in cardiopulmonary diseases, including asthma and asthma-like disorders, there seems to be a continuous spectrum of symptoms and mechanisms integrated in a single asthma syndrome.
- A case of unilateral pleural effusion secondary to congestive heart failure successfully treated with traditional Chinese herbal formulas. [Case Reports, Journal Article]
- J Altern Complement Med 2012 May; 18(5):509-12.
A case is presented that illustrates the potential effect of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal formulas on treatment for unilateral pleural effusion secondary to congestive heart failure (CHF).A 79-year-old woman experienced episodic dyspnea with unilateral pleural effusion for 2 years. Thoracocentesis with pleural fluid analysis revealed no infection, tuberculosis, or malignancy. She had received conventional treatment for CHF but the symptoms persisted. Therefore, she visited the authors' TCM clinic for help.This patient was treated with TCM herbal granules including Shengmaisan, Xiebaisan, and Tinglizi, 3 times a day for 4 weeks. The daily dosage was adjusted on the basis of the patient's clinical response and her follow-up chest x-ray studies. After 8 months of treatment, her symptoms improved and the pleural effusion showed significant regression.It is suggested that TCM herbal formulas could play an important role in preventing the progression of unilateral pleural effusion secondary to CHF, in case of poor response to conservative treatment. Additional studies about the mechanism of action of the medication involved are warranted.
- COPD in primary care: from episodic to continual management. [Comment, Editorial]
- Br J Gen Pract 2012 Feb; 62(595):60-1.
- Severe episodic viral wheeze in preschool children: High risk of asthma at age 5-10 years. [Journal Article]
- Eur J Pediatr 2012 Jun; 171(6):947-54.
In population studies, most children with episodic viral wheeze (EVW) become symptom free by 6 years. We studied the outcome of children with severe EVW, treated and followed up in hospital. We followed up 78 children <4 years, managed by paediatricians for severe EVW, to the age of 5-10 years. We recorded respiratory symptoms, spirometry and exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO). At follow-up, 42 children (54%) had current wheeze or dyspnoea, and 52 (67%) had current asthma. There was no significant difference between children with and without current asthma in FEV1 (p = 0.420), but FeNO was higher in children with current asthma (median (interquartile range) 14.5 (11.25-21.50) ppb) than in those without (12.0 (10.0-13.8) ppb, p = 0.020). Positive family history of asthma was the only factor associated with current asthma (odds ratio 8.77, 95% CI 2.88-26.69, p < 0.001). This remained significant after adjustment for duration of follow-up, gender and parental smoking.
Conclusion.Severe EVW at preschool age has a high risk of asthma at age 5-10 years, and this is reinforced by a positive family history of asthma and to elevated FeNO levels.
- Atypical cardiac myxomas: a clinicopathologic analysis and their comparison to 64 typical myxomas. [Comparative Study, Journal Article]
- Cardiovasc Pathol 2012 May-Jun; 21(3):180-7.
Myxomas are the most common among the primary cardiac neoplasms, seen mainly in adult population, and are typically attached to the interatrial septum, on the left side. Myxomas arising from other sites are designated as "atypical myxomas." In this article, we describe the clinicopathologic features of 28 such lesions, resected in 20 patients.A 15-year study (1995-2009) of all cardiac myxomas, received as surgical excisions in our institution, was performed. Atypical myxomas were selected on the basis of their atypical sites of origin, and a systematic review and comparison of their clinicopathologic features with all typical myxomas excised during the same period were done.Among a total of 84 patients who had undergone cardiac myxoma excisions in this 15-year duration, 64 patients had typical myxomas, while atypical myxomas (30 tumors) were diagnosed in 20 patients (23.8%). None of them had a family history of similar symptoms. There were six children. In the atypical subset, there were 12 males and eight females; the mean age of diagnosis was 33.7 years. This demography differed from the typical myxoma group where there were more females than males and the mean age of diagnosis being 40.8 years. The symptoms of dyspnea, episodic chest pain, and palpitation were common in both cohorts of patients, and all showed a mass lesion with varying degrees of valvular regurgitation and obstruction on echocardiography. Five of the 20 patients with atypical myxomas had multifocal or multicentric tumors. Grossly, like typical myxomas, the atypical ones also exhibited solid and papillary patterns with the usual histological features. Four patients had recurrence of the disease.Atypical myxomas are rare lesions having clinical and pathological features, not entirely different from those of typical myxomas. With the advent of modern diagnostics, it is now imperative to do genetic studies and screen the relatives of patients having atypical myxomas to rule out additional occult familial cases as they are now known to occur more in this "atypical" group.
- Non-invasive ventilation in severe asthma attack, its possibilities and problems. [Journal Article, Review]
- Panminerva Med 2011 Jun; 53(2):87-96.
Asthma attack is characterized by episodic attacks of cough, dyspnea and wheeze occurring due to bronchoconstriction, airway hyperresponsiveness and mucous hypersecretion. Although nationwide clinical guidelines have been published to establish the standard care of asthma, choices in the treatment of fatal asthma attacks remain of clinical significance. Especially, in a severe asthma attack, despite the application of conventional medical treatment, respiratory management is critical. Even though non-invasive ventilation (NIV) has been shown to be effective in a wide variety of clinical settings, reports of NIV in asthmatic patients are scarce. According to a few prospective clinical trials reporting promising results in favour of the use of NIV in a severe asthma attack, a trial of NIV prior to invasive mechanical ventilation seems acceptable and may benefit patients by decreasing the need for intubation and by supporting pharmaceutical treatments. Although selecting the appropriate patients for NIV use is a key factor in successful NIV application, how to distinguish such patients is quite controversial. Larger high quality clinical trails are urgently required to confirm the benefits of NIV to patients with severe asthma attack. In this article, we focus on the body of evidence supporting the use of NIV in asthma attacks and discuss its advantages as well its problems.