No CT scans for old smokers? "Traditionally, doctors used to be called in when needed. But this is now changing. Increasingly it is the doctor who calls the person in by issuing an invitation. Healthy people are asked to visit the surgery for a 'check-up,' or 'screening,' when their computerized records show they are 'due.' Non-attendance is known as 'non-compliance,' indicating an element of recklessness and irresponsibility." - Petr ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 72-year-old woman is evaluated during a routine examination. She has very severe COPD with multiple exacerbations. She has dyspnea at all times with decreased exercise capacity. She does not have cough or any change in baseline sputum production. She is adherent to her medication regimen, and she completed pulmonary rehabilitation 1 ...

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A friend of mine has been living well with lung cancer for five years -- working, running several miles a day, traveling, doing good stuff with his family, and generally enjoying the pleasures of everyday life. He knows the cancer will eventually kill him, but has been making the most of every remaining minute. Then, a month ago, things suddenly turned dramatically south. Severe shortness of breath, constant coughing, sleeplessness, fatigue, ...

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Respiratory syncytial virus infection, aka RSV, is a common infection in children. A key aspect of RSV is how poor a job our immune systems do in fighting it off. Virtually all children are infected with RSV during the first few years of life. Not only that, all of us are reinfected multiple times during our lives. Attempts at devising a vaccine for RSV have all been unsuccessful. In fact, ...

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88.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot. - Victor Reeves There’s a growing movement in medicine in general and imaging in particular which wishes to attach a number to everything. It no longer suffices to say, “You’re at moderate risk for pulmonary embolism (PE).” We must quantify our qualification. Either by an interval: “Your chances of PE are between 15 and 45%.” Or, preferably, a point estimate: “You have a 15% chance ...

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Check out the prices for nebulizer solutions of albuterol and budesonide (generic Pulmicort). They are totally affordable. $4 for a month for albuterol. $14 for a month for budesonide respules. Pulmicort respules used to be very expensive. Now even the branded budesonide is  less than 10% of a monthly cable bill. Then check out the prices of inhaled steroids delivered through meter dose inhaler (MDI) or dry powder inhaler (DPI). These ...

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Earlier this year a child died following a surgical procedure in California for a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. The case generated a great deal of concern among parents about both this condition and the surgery often done to treat it. I wrote a post myself about it at the time. I still get questions about it because I care for quite a few children immediately after they have had ...

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Recently, a family physician colleague asked me to explain why the Affordable Care Act requires private health insurers to provide first-dollar coverage for preventive services that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force assigns an "A" or "B" (recommended) rating, but allows public insurers (Medicare and Medicaid) to determine if and how they will cover these services. Until recently, the question hadn't come up, since Medicare has agreed to cover pretty much every ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 38-year-old man is evaluated for a 1-year history of cough with mucoid sputum and a 6-month history of mildly progressive dyspnea. He has a 12-pack-year history of smoking. He has no history of asthma, allergies, skin disease, or liver disease. On physical examination, vital signs are normal. Pulmonary examination discloses decreased breath ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 32-year-old woman is evaluated for a 6-month history of nonproductive cough. She has no history of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections and has never smoked cigarettes. She has no fever, dyspnea on exertion, hemoptysis, heartburn, or wheezing. She has worked in the same office for 7 years and has lived in ...

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