Author | Russell W. Steele, MD

Articles

What Is Causing This Persistent Diarrhea?

October 01, 2008

A 52-year-old woman presented with a 12-day history of diarrhea and mild stool incontinence that began 2 to 3 hours after a routine screening colonoscopy. Six or 7 bowel movements of liquid, orange-yellow feces occurred each day for 12 days. The patient reported that associated nausea, flatulence, and severe abdominal cramping were relieved by the bowel movements. She also reported that a small amount of mucus was occasionally observed in the stool and that bright red blood streaks appeared on used toilet paper, although the stool itself was not bloody. She was able to tolerate a full diet, although food exacerbated the urgency. She was afebrile during this illness.

What Is Causing Headache and Neck Stiffness in This Patient?

August 01, 2008

A 41-year-old African American man presented with the chief complaint of a constant, dull headache for 3 days. The headache had a gradual onset and was associated with nausea and mild neck stiffness that was not relieved by acetaminophen. The man denied experiencing visual disturbances, fever, night sweats, weight loss, cough, shortness of breath, emesis, or weakness. He had no recent history of trauma or sick contacts.

What Is Causing This Patient’s Acute Left-Sided Weakness?

June 01, 2008

A 56-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension presented with acute left-sided weakness and altered mental status, for which she was hospitalized. The patient, who was obese, was in her usual state of well-being until 2 months before this presentation, when she noted a gradual onset of generalized weakness. She received a diagnosis of severe hypokalemia that was refractory to oral potassium supplementation. The outpatient workup of the cause of her hypokalemia was in progress.

What Caused Cough and Hemoptysis in a Patient Recently Treated for Exudative Tonsillitis?

February 21, 2008

A 22-year-old man presentedwith a 3-week history ofcough and hemoptysis withright-sided chest pain and decreasedoral intake associated with a 4.5-kg(10-lb) weight loss. Ten days beforehospital admission, he was involvedin a fistfight, which resulted in his arrest.He was taken to jail and placedin a holding cell for 3 hours. Shortlybefore his pulmonary symptoms developed,he was seen by his primarycare physician because he had a sorethroat and exudative tonsillitis, forwhich amoxicillin/clavulanate wasprescribed. He stopped taking theantibiotic after 3 days.

Fever With Bacteremia in Children:

February 01, 2005

ABSTRACT: Occult bacteremia now occurs in only 1 of 200 children who present with acute fever (temperature of 39°C [102.2°F] or higher) and white blood cell counts of 15,000/µL or more. The most likely cause of bacteremia remains Streptococcus pneumoniae; when there is no evidence of toxicity, such bacteremia is generally a benign, self-limited event. Because of the extremely low yield, blood cultures are no longer routinely warranted in children aged 3 to 36 months who have no obvious source of infection, and empiric treatment of occult bacteremia is no longer appropriate. Almost all cases will spontaneously resolve with a low rate of subsequent focal infection. If a child remains febrile and worsens clinically, further diagnostic evaluation and possible empiric treatment with antibiotics pending results of cultures may be considered.