The concept of disease is more complex than it may seem. Disease is both a natural category and a social construction. Medical anthropology distinguishes between three realities under the different words defining "disease": the biological abnormalities (disease), the subjective experience of altered physical state (illness), and the process of socialization of pathological episodes (sickness). The constructivist perspective of the sociology of science shows that scientific knowledge reflects cultural beliefs and social values. A diagnosis is "constructed" in the interaction of patients and physicians, and of their respective representations of disease, in a given historical and social contex. The example of fibromyalgia has been chosen to illustrate this social construction of diagnostic categories.
Adult onset Still's disease is a systemic disorder of unknown etiology. The diagnosis is difficult and based upon Yamaguchi's criteria after exclusion of infectious diseases, hematologic process or autoimmune diseases. Clinical manifestations are various. Functional prognosis depends essentially on articular involvement. Vital prognosis depends on either hepatic failure or hematological or infectious complications, or amyloidosis. Ferritinemia is an important biological parameter which is not included in current criteria. Treatment is not well codified but steroids represent the most efficient therapy to control fever and systemic manifestations. Search for new treatments and specific markers of adult onset Still's disease are needed.
The aim of the present study was to determine HLA DRB1* genotype by PCR-RFLP analysis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (N = 122) associated with extra-articular manifestations (N = 24). A significant increased of DRB1* 0405 was found in RA patients with extra-cellular involvement (odd-ratio = 8.33, confidence interval = 1.44 - 56.7). In patients with RA, HLA DRB1*0405 allele might constitute a susceptibility marker of extra-articular involvement such as vasulitis or cardio-pulmonary manifestations.
Calcium and phosphorus metabolism was studied in 101 institutionalized subjects over 70 years of age (mean: 82.5 years). The study was performed in serum and urine; it included parathyroid hormone and calcidiol (250HD3) assays and radiological examination of bones with determination of Meunier's index and metacarpal cortical index. Calcidiol concentrations did not vary with age but were higher in people who left the institution and in men. In contrast, there was a significant age-group related increase of parathyroid hormone concentrations. This increase was accompanied by an increase of parathyroid hormone activity, as shown by a parallel fall in phosphorus reabsorption rate. These findings are in agreement with current pathogenetic theories on senile osteoporosis. Invalid subjects had higher urinary calcium and serum parathyroid hormone levels and a lower cortical index. Paradoxically, there was less vertebral collapse as evaluated by Meunier's index, which may suggest that very old patients develop progressive cortical bone hyperresorption entirely independent of sequelae from their former trabecular osteoporosis.
The study concerns 105 cases of dominant polycystic kidney disease. Affected relatives were observed in 65% of patients. The clinical features that leads to diagnosis were lumbar pain in 37.5% of cases, renal failure in 24.6% of cases and hypertension in 15.1% of cases. Hypertension was observed in 46.7% of cases and it seems that its onset is independent of chronic renal failure. Its frequency is of 55.1% when only kidneys were affected and of 21.4% when the liver was affected too. The progression of chronic renal failure is influenced by hypertension.
We arbitrarily define "isolated weight loss" as the loss of at least 10 p. 100 of body weight over less than one year, without any single cause being disclosed by questioning, physical examination and such paraclinical examinations as blood electrolytes, blood count and differential, routine dipstick urinalysis and X-ray of the chest. Among the 105 patients we studied, the causes of isolated weight loss were: (1) psychic disorders (chiefly depression) in 60 p. 100 of the cases; (2) a variety of organic diseases in 29 p. 100, including gastrointestinal diseases (8 p. 100), cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (6 p. 100), Horton's disease (4 p. 100), Portuguese amyloidosis (1 p. 100), unexplained inflammatory syndrome (1 p. 100), endocrine disease (hyperthyroidism, 4 p. 100) and intoxication with medicines, alcohol or heroin (5 p. 100); (3) no definite cause could be found in 11 p. 100 of the cases. We suggest a diagnostic approach involving a limited number of examinations, viz.: erythrocyte sedimentation rate, measurement of transaminases, gamma GT and alkaline phosphatase enzymes, abdominal ultrasonography and ultra-sensitive TSH assay. We consider it important to switch from useless paraclinical tests to the detection and management of psychic disorders. Weight loss is a frequent motive of consultation, but its diagnostic value is often misunderstood. The purpose of this study was to provide data for the artiological diagnosis of isolated weight loss--a relatively frequent problem in internal medicine.
One hundred and fifteen cases of iatrogenic disorders were observed in 106 patients during a one-year prospective study. Each case was included after informed agreement of two investigators. Each case was classified into 4 groups, according to duration time between iatrogenic disorder and hospitalization, and into 3 sections according to responsibility of causative agent. A control group of 200 patients matched for age and sex was studied. Patients represented 8% of the hospitalisations. Mean age (69.2 years) was higher than other patients hospitalized during the same period (61.6 years). Principal causative agents were diuretics (30), physchotrops (13) and technic examinations (12). Main pathologies were electrolytes disorders (28), orthostatic hypotension (19), confusion and/or alteration of mental functions (13), and cutaneous or allergic disorders (12). Mean induced hospitalization duration time was of 8 days. Mean estimate cost was 18,808 francs per patient. Associated factors were elderly, and an elevated number of drugs. A negligency could participate to iatrogenic disorders in 50% of cases. Half part of iatrogenic disorders could be avoided by using simple precautions: respect of contra-indications, restriction on self-therapy and of number of associated drugs.
Results of a prospective trial showed that 7.9% of patients in an internal medicine department were affected by a drug-induced pathology (DIP). Reasons for this include non respect of contra-indications or to non supervision of treatment such as anti-hypertensive drugs. DIP affected more often elderly patients, and reflected superconsummation of medication.
The progress realized in the treatment of sickle cell anemia has resulted to a better and longer life for these patients in developed countries. Ongoing challenge are to manage complication and social living for these patients. The purpose of this study was to determine morbidity, mortality and socioprofessional insertion of homozygous sickle cell patients, followed up in Dakar university hospital.
We performed a longitudinal and prospective study including 108 homozygous sickle cell anemia patients, whose age were above 20 years, followed in a regular basis (at least 3 times per year), during 5 years on average (3 to 12 years). All patients had a quarterly hematological check-up and a annual statement to detect chronic complications. Clinic and paraclinical data, as information in socioprofessional insertion were noted in medical records for analysis.
Mean age was 27 years (20-51 years). The age between 20-29 years was represented by 67.5%, 26.9% aged 30-39 years and 5.6% were above 40 years of age. Men were slightly predominant with a sex-ratio of 1.25. Concerning morbidity, 96.3% of patients had at least 1 vaso-occlusive crisis per year, 26.9% were transfused and 64.8% had been hospitalized during the follow-up. A chronic complication was found in 49% of patients (53/108). The more frequent of these complications were gall stone (10%), femoral head necrosis (9.2%), priapism (11.6% of men), chronic leg ulceration (4.6%), ophthalmic involvement (3.7%), renal and cardiac complications (2.7% for each one). The presence of complications was not significantly influenced by patient's sex. Five patients died during a mean follow-up of 5 years. Concerning school attendance, 13% reach university level whereas 47% stop their education on the secondary level and 40% on primary level. Professionally, 36.2% of patients had no exercise any activity.
Our results emphasize that life expectancy can be prolonged in sickle cell anemia patients in Africa, when they have a benefit of a regular follow-up. We show also the respective frequency of chronic complications and then, the necessity of multidisciplinary teams to optimize the take care of sickle cell anemia patients in Africa.
The use of plasma exchange (PE) constituted an advance in the treatment of myasthenia. The objective of our study was to determine the relevance of PE in the treatment of myasthenia and to study the different complications which can be observed during PE.
We studied retrospectively 11 patients who have generalized myasthenia and underwent PE. We used an intermittent flow cell separator and we performed PE three times a week. Biological assessment was performed before and after PE for all patients. The exchange volume was calculated according to the patient weight, gender and the value of hematocrit.
Our series included six women and five men. The mean age at onset of the disease was 41.4+/-14.1 years (range: 18 to 68). Indication of PE was myasthenia crisis (eight cases), resistance to classic treatment (two cases) and exacerbation after thymectomy (one case). An improvement was observed rapidly in five cases and delayed in three cases. The remaining three patients did not improve. The most frequent side effects of PE were hypotension (four cases), heart arrhythmia (two cases) and hypoglycemia (one case). Three patients dead in the seven days after the first PE.
PE represents an interesting tool to treat severe forms of myasthenia and improve prognosis. High incidence of complications in our series can be explained by the initial disease severity, the used method of PE, the existence of associated illness, and a long stay in intensive care unit.
To determine clinical and radiological features, using computed tomography (CT-scan) in patients with aortic involvement related to giant cell arteritis (GCA), and to assess both clinical and CT-scan outcome after therapy institution.
Aortic involvement due to GCA was investigated in all patients, using CT-scan at diagnosis, and at 3, 6 and 12 months follow-up after therapy institution.
The 11 consecutive patients consisted of 4 men and 7 women with mean age of 64.5 years. Patients exhibited: constitutional symptoms (N=9; 82%), dorsalgia (N=3; 27%), clinical signs of GCA (N=3; 27%) and of upper limb large vessel impairment (N=6; 55%). CT-scan showed aortitis involving both thoracic and abdominal aorta (N=6; 55%), abdominal (N=2; 18%) or thoracic aorta (N=2; 18%) and thoracic aortic aneurysm (N=1; 9%). At one-year follow-up, CT-scan revealed: complete resolution (N=7; 64%) and improvement (N=3; 27%) of aortic damage; the patient, who had thoracic aortic aneurysm, underwent surgical treatment, as aortic lesion remained unchanged on CT-scan.
Our study underlines that CT-scan is a helpful test in diagnosis and follow-up of aortic involvement in patients with GCA.
The authors report 11 cases of multiple autoimmune syndromes. Autoimmune thyroid disorders and Sjogren's syndrome seem to be non-randomly associated and might share a genetic predisposition linked to HLA phenotype B8 DR3 and B12 DR4.
Eosinophilic fasciitis or Shulman's disease is a rare condition of unknown etiology.
We report a retrospective case series of 11 patients with eosinophilic fasciitis (seven men and four women, including a single pediatric case) and perform a systematic literature review to determine the main features of this disease.
Mean age of the patients was 46 years. Subcutaneous induration of limbs observed in all the patients was the major presenting symptom. The induration was atypically located in the chest area in two patients. Blood eosinophilia was absent in five cases. Histological fasciitis was demonstrated in all patients and eosinophilic infiltration was present in seven patients. Relapse of subcutaneous induration was observed in only one patient who gradually developed systemic sclerosis.
Diagnosis of eosinophilic fasciitis should be considered in the presence myalgia and subcutaneous induration of limbs, blood eosinophilia and hypergammaglobulinemia. Treatment is based on systemic corticosteroids.
To analyze the evolutive profile of sarcoidosis together with reciprocal interactions between pregnancy and sarcoidosis.
All events that occurred during pregnancy in 11 women presenting with sarcoidosis were analyzed. Histological confirmation was obtained for the 11 cases. For all pregnancies were analyzed the course of both sarcoidosis and pregnancy, and the influence of pregnancy on the disease evolution.
Among 33 pregnancies, 23 led to the birth of healthy fetuses (five spontaneous abortions, four voluntary abortions, and one therapeutic abortion). The major event was fetal hypotrophy in six cases. Three of them occurred during pregnancy in prednisone-treated patients with active sarcoidosis. No relapse of cured sarcoidosis or further evolution of sarcoidosis that was inactivated as of the beginning of pregnancy were observed. The course of active sarcoidosis varied, as improvement (one case), worsening (two cases) and stabilization (two cases) were observed. During the first year of follow-up after delivery, four relapses and, in two cases, preliminary signs of the disease were observed.
Apart from the hypothetical but not definite risk of hypotrophy, no negative interaction between sarcoidosis and pregnancy could be established. Pregnancy does not seem to interfere with the course of sarcoidosis. Considering the risk of relapse after delivery, pregnant women presenting with sarcoidosis should benefit from clinical and radiological follow-up.
Fever happens frequently in colon cancer but it is rarely the presenting manifestation.
Patients and methods:
We report a case series of patients with colon cancer revealed by fever in the three military hospitals in Paris.
Of the 11 patients studied, seven were men and four were women, and their mean age was 70 years. Cancer was localized in the sigmoid colon (n=6), left colon (n=3) and right colon (n=2). Cancer staging (UICC TNM classification 2002) was respectively pTis (n=1), I (n=4), II (n=3) and III (n=3). Fever was the only reason for admission and two patients had a recurrent fever of unknown origin. All patients but one had bacterial infection. Blood cultures grew up in six cases, Escherichia coli (n=3), Streptococcus gallolyticus (ex bovis) (n=2) and anaerobic bacteria (n=1). There was one case of infective endocarditis caused by S. gallolyticus. Imaging showed a liver abscess (n=3) and a colon cancer complicated by an abscess (n=3). In seven patients, a familial history of colon cancer and symptoms of underlying colic disease were present (neglected rectal bleeding, iron deficiency anaemia, clinical evidence of an abdominal mass).
Fever may reveal colon cancer at an early stage. Its main cause is a bacterial infection, such as bacteremia or abscess. Fever of unknown origin is a rare presentation. Detailed history, careful clinical examination and analysis of imaging contribute to recommend the prescription of colonoscopy.
The authors report eleven new cases of adult Still's disease diagnosed during the last 5 years. This rare, though not exceptional, disease of unknown pathogenesis is difficult to diagnose in the absence of specific sign; it is in fact diagnosed by elimination. The clinical, laboratory and anatomical findings, as well as the treatment and outcome of these 11 cases are described, and this is followed by a discussion of the nosological, therapeutic and above all prognostic problems raised by the disease.
The occurrence in the same patient of three or more autoimmune diseases defines multiple autoimmune disease. Multiple autoimmune disease is an unusual condition in which dermatological autoimmune diseases and especially vitiligo have an important place.
We examined retrospectively 11 cases of multiple autoimmune diseases associating vitiligo. We studied the clinical characteristics of vitiligo and those of the associated autoimmune disorders.
Type III multiple autoimmune disease was diagnosed in all the 11 cases observed. Autoimmune vitiligo was the first autoimmune disorder observed in seven cases and was bilateral, symmetrical and acrofacial in eight cases. Autoimmune thyroid disorder was associated in ten cases. Our data confirms the important association between vitiligo and thyroid autoimmune disorders.
The predominant female ratio and the acrofacial topography of skin lesions could predict association with others autoimmune disorders in patients with vitiligo.
The authors report eleven cases of multiple auto-immune syndrome, concerning a total of 15 different auto-immune diseases. This study suggests that auto-immune thyroid disorders (Graves' disease or hypothyroidism resulting from Hashimoto's thyroiditis) are a common feature of multiple auto-immune syndromes, while antithyroid antibodies are constant among our patients. Sjögren's syndrome is also very prevalent, and seems to be non-randomly associated with auto-immune thyroid disorders, a fact which suggests common aetiological factors. Among other auto-immune disorders, the antiphospholipid syndrome has been diagnosed twice. A genetic predisposition to multiple auto-immune syndrome is obvious, as shown by a familial history of auto-immune disorders (found in more than half of the cases), and a predominant HLA phenotype, B8 and/or DR3. The authors plead for a systematic enquiry for multiple auto-immune syndrome in patients with auto-immune thyroid disorders and a family history of auto-immune disorders.
The authors report 11 cases of Hodgkin's disease in which the first sign was due to bone involvement. Such observations are rare and raise diagnosis delays (Means: 5, 6 months in this series). Modern medical imaging techniques (scintigraphy, CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging) are very useful to an earlier diagnosis which will be better confirmed by lymph node biopsy given the poor information yielded by osseous cytology and/or histology. The elective localisation in bones belonging to the axial skeleton seems to support the hypothesis of a contiguous osseous involvement from lymphoïd organs in contact with bones. Evolution with chemotherapy and radiotherapy is very similar to that observed in patients without bone involvement.
The C-reactive protein (CRP) is a useful inflammatory marker with a rapid kinetics during the inflammatory process. The objective of this study was to determine the etiology and prognosis of extremely elevated CRP values greater or equal to 500 mg/L.
We performed an exhaustive retrospective study from January 2004 to July 2009, in a general hospital, of all patients with a CRP value above 500 mg/L, admitted in all clinical departments. Clinical data were collected by a single observer using a standardized questionnaire.
One hundred and sixty-eight CRP values greater or equal to 500 mg/L were identified amongst 106,758 tests (0.16%) corresponding to 113 patients: 51% were men and their mean age was 59.5 years. Mean CRP value was 561 mg/L (500-772). An immunocompromised condition was observed in 52% of the patients. All but 13 patients presented an infectious disease. Microbiological analysis of the infected patients identified 59 Gram-positive cocci (20 Staphylococcus spp., 35 Streptococcus spp. including 21 Streptococcus pneumoniae), two Gram-negative cocci, 48 Gram-negative bacilli (including 19 Escherichia coli), three Gram-positive bacilli, 16 fungal infections, one viral infection. Site of infection was respiratory in 63%, urinary in 17% and abdominal in 16%. At day 30, mortality rate was 27% and only 41% of the patients were discharged at home.
CRP value above 500 mg/L is highly related to bacterial infections, without over-representation of a given microorganism. One-month mortality is high (27%).
The authors report on an outbreak of Schistosoma mansoni infestation involving 113 military men who had been contaminated together in a tributary of the Chari river in the Central African Republic. The patients were examined on their return to France 50 days after being contaminated and were compared with a control group of 25 subjects who had lived in Africa under the same conditions but were exempt of bilharziasis. All were subjected to a retrospective questionnaire, physical examination, examination of the faeces and serological test for bilharziasis by indirect haemoagglutination. All received two courses of praziquantel. Follow-up serology was performed after 1 year in 86 cases. The results of this study in both groups are presented and commented upon. With intestinal bilharziasis, prophylaxis against contamination is extremely difficult to carry out in endemic areas among people who visit and work "on the spot". Detection by routine serology must be performed upon return.
A deterioration of the general condition, a prolonged fever or an unexplained inflammatory syndrome are frequent reasons for hospitalization in a internal medicine unit. In these situations, it is not rare to make a diagnosis of cancer. PATIENTS ET METHODS: A descriptive study was carried out over a three years period (1st October 1999 to 30th September 2002) in an internal medicine unit. Every week, all patients in whom a cancer was diagnosed were enrolled in the study.
During this period, 165 patients were identified (3.8% of the in-patients). A histological proof was obtained in 114 patients. Digestive and bronchopulmonary cancers were the most frequent. The first signs were very varied but digestive disorders and ferriprive anaemia were the most frequent. The number of investigations necessary to diagnosis were weak (1.56 procedures) when a sign was identified but were high (5.12 procedures) when no information was provided by interview, clinical examination or usual biological tests.
Diagnosis of cancer is an usual situation in an internal medicine unit. Interview and clinical examination are essential in the diagnostic step. It could decrease the number of procedures. Internal unit services are fully concerned by the announcement of cancer.
A cross sectional survey was set up to study the relation between the prevalence of allergic-type reactions during HIV infection course. For each patient, a standardized interview about recent allergic-type manifestations (RATM), skin prick-tests to six common airborne allergens, IgE serum level were done. Among the 115 included patients, the mean CD4 lymphocyte count (CD4) was 214.7/mm3 (range: 0-1328/mm3). RATM were found in 8.8% of patients with CD4 < 50, in 30% of patients with CD4 between 51 and 200, in 36% of patients with CD4 between 201 and 350 and in 11.5% of patients with CD4 < 350 (p = 0.03). The risk of presenting RATM was 4.8 times (95% confidence interval = 1.7-13.5) higher in patients with CD4 between 51 and 350 than in other patients (p = 0.003). The proportion of positive prick-tests did not significantly vary according to the level of CD4. The increased frequency of RATM in patients with CD4 between 51 and 350/mm3 could be due to an allergic predisposition acquired during the course of HIV infection. The mechanisms explaining the reduced frequency of allergic manifestations when immunodeficiency is profound (CD4 < 50/mm3) remain to be explained.
Thyroid hormones, TSH and antithyroid antibodies were prospectively controlled in 116 patients treated with amiodarone. Hypothyroidism occurred in 4 patients (3.7%) mainly early (average = 6 months). Hyperthyroidism was seen among 13 patients (11.9%) and its prevalence was proportional to therapy duration.
Chronic fatigue is the more frequent symptom identified in the course of hereditary haemochromatosis. A screening for this disorder was carried out in 120 primary care patients consulting for unexplained chronic fatigue.
Transferrin saturation and serum ferritin were determined in all patients. If transferrin saturation was >or= 45% and serum ferritin >or= 300 microg/l, HFE1 genotyping for mutations C282Y and H63D was completed.
One hundred and twenty patients were recruited, 19-86 years old, including 62 males and 58 females. 45 patients (38%) presented with serum ferritin >or= 300 microg/l. Thirty two patients (27%) presented with transferrin saturation >or= 45%. Twenty two patients (18%) presented with these two pathological values. Four C282Y/H63D compound heterozygous, one H63D/H63D homozygous, and eight simplex heterozygous (6 H63D and 2 C282Y) genotypes were found. Patients with serum ferritin >or= 300 microg/l were predominantly male (89%), older (57 year) and plethoric (BMI: 26.4) corresponding mainly to dysmetabolic hyperferritinemia.
None of these 120 patients consulting for unexplained chronic fatigue was found with hereditary haemochromatosis. Therefore observed prevalence is 0, with upper limit of 95% confidence interval at 2.5%. But the high prevalence (38%) of serum ferritin >or= 300 microg/l must be emphasized, corresponding usually to dysmetabolic hyperferritinemia.
In the last few years, the association of deep vein thrombosis with frequent biological risk factors and genetic polymorphisms has significantly modified the field of venous thrombosis. In this study, we measured plasma homocysteine levels and tested the C677T methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) mutation.
Plasma homocysteine levels and test for C677T MTHFR mutation were performed in 120 consecutive patients with objectively diagnosed deep vein thrombosis, and in 120 controls.
We found a strong association between hyperhomocysteinemia and thrombosis (odd ratio: 2.43 IC 95% [1.27-4.7]). Conversely the C677T MTHFR gene polymorphism is only associated with hyperhomocysteinemia but not associated with thrombosis.
This is a preliminary study to the ongoing international multicentric study of SNFMI (Société nationale française de m0+edecine interne) concerning hyperhomocysteinemia and venous thrombosis.
Transitory changes in the plasma levels of lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides have been observed since a long time by many authors, in the course of bacterial infections, with hypocholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia in the acute phase, increasing the third day of clinical evolution. Their decrease accompanies the return to normal. Lymphopenia is also observed during bacterial infections and as the very low level of cholesterol, is considered to be a factor of critical prognosis, predicting an unfavorable evolution, essentially in elderly people. C-reactive protein (CRP) proves to be a good marker protein in inflammation due to sepsis; its synthesis is directly influenced by the cytokines released during the acute phase response of inflammation in bacterial infection. The authors are researching a correlation between the intensity of the acute phase response represented by CRP levels, and a reduced cholesterol level, or a hypertriglyceridemia, or lymphocytopenia.
In this prospective study, blood samples at fasting state were obtained in 160 patients divided into four groups of 40 according to CRP levels, including a witness group (CRP levels lower than 10 mg/L) and three groups of patients presenting infectious diseases with acute phase response of different intensities. All patients were checked for cholesterol, triglyceride and CRP levels, blood cell count. The three pathologic groups were compared to the witness group and to each other.
A significant correlation was established between the intensity of the acute phase response during sepsis and reduced levels of cholesterol. Cholesterolemia was reduced (P < 0.05) in all three pathologic groups when compared to the witness group; the difference existed when a low intensity inflammatory response was observed (mean CRP level 27.6 (10.5) mg/L in group 1). Moreover a significant response exists with reduced cholesterol levels between group 4 (mean CRP level 250 (73) mg/L) and group 1. Lymphocytopenia was observed in all three pathologic groups, without evident link with the CRP levels. No modification was observed concerning triglyceride levels.
The authors report a negative correlation of total cholesterol to CRP levels at the early stage of infections diseases. Prior studies established a negative correlation between inflammatory parameters during bacterial infections and total cholesterol and HDL fraction. Considering the plasma lipid pathways, HDL fraction plays a major role in lipid transport and exchanges between lipoproteins, thanks to its apolipoproteins A1, A2 and C. IL-1 and TNF, two cytokines involved in the acute phase response, have metabolic functions which could possibly contribute to reduce plasma total cholesterol and HDL2 fraction. IL-1 also induces lymphocytopenia. The authors propose the hypothesis of a correlation between plasma cholesterol levels and the acute phase response during sepsis, which could be induced by the mediators or effectors of inflammation.
Uveitis consists of a large group of diseases characterized by intraocular inflammation involving the uveal tract. This heterogeneity makes the diagnosis and the treatment of uveitis frequently challenging. The purpose of this study was to describe the various clinical and etiologic aspects of uveitis, through the new standardized uveitis classification and the use of modern investigations for its diagnostic work-up.
The medical records of 121 new patients with uveitis referred to our tertiary ophthalmologic centre between January 2002 and December 2006 were retrospectively reviewed. Uveitis associated to human immunodeficiency virus and secondary to exogenous endophthalmitis were excluded. All patients had a complete ophthalmological examination and appropriate clinical and paraclinical examination. The diagnosis was established according to the recent international criteria.
One hundred and twenty-one patients were included. The four main etiologies were: toxoplasmosis (14%), sarcoidosis (11.6%), spondylarthritis or HLA B27-associated uveitis (13.2%) and Herpes virus infections (9.1%) that represented almost half of the uveitis causes (47.9%). Various diseases constituted the remaining causes of the uveitis (20.9%). Uveitis remained unexplained in the remaining 36 patients (29.7%). Overall, associated systemic diseases were diagnosed in 35.5% of our uveitis patients (34 patients), associated infectious conditions in 26.4% (32 patients) and specific ocular diseases in 8.3% (12 patients).
Despite a limited number of patients, our study showed an etiologic distribution similar to that of the main series reported in the literature. Nevertheless, we observed an elevated frequency of sarcoidosis and systemic diseases, which emphasizes a management that takes into account standardized clinical and paraclinical criteria and the usefulness of a collaboration with the internist.
Central nervous system (CNS) tuberculosis remains a public health problem, particularly in developing countries. The aim of this study is to characterize neuroradiologic findings of various intracranial lesions.
We retrospectively reviewed data of 122 patients with CNS tuberculosis, without immunosuppression. CT scan was performed in all patients, whereas 17 patients had CT scan and MRI.
We included 74 women (61%) and 48 men (39%) with a mean age of 37 years (17 -88y). 18 patients (14,7%) had a history of tuberculosis. Tuberculous meningitis was the most frequent clinical presentation (119 cases). Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated in cerebrospinal fluid of 18 patients (15%). Several types of lesions were identified : hydrocephalus (35 cases), tuberculomas (29 cases), leptomeningitis (26 cases), infarction (15 cases), abcesses (2 cases). Hydrocephalus was associated to other lesions in 26 cases. Communication hydrocephalus was present in 28 cases. Multiple tuberculomas were seen in 23 cases (80%), with miliary aspects in some cases. In 3 cases, tuberculoma was present without meningitis. Patients with leptomeningitis showed thick meningeal contrast enhancement involving all basal cisterns. Infarction resulted from arterial englobement or embols, and involved the area of middle cerebral artery (12 cases).
Central nervous system tuberculosis has different appearences, mostly hydrocephalus and tuberculomas. MR with contrast is necessary for diagnosis and for follow-up during treatment.
We evaluated the value of serum amyloid P component scintigraphy (123I-SAP) and labial salivary gland biopsy in four patients with apparently localized amyloidosis. One patient had pharyngeal amyloidosis, the second laryngeal amyloidosis, the third retro-ocular amyloidosis and the fourth had carpal tunnel syndrome. Three patients (no 2, no 3, no 4) have abnormal whole body retention of 123I-SAP and positive labial salivary gland biopsy for amyloidosis. Only the first patient had effectively localized amyloidosis and local treatment was sufficient. Melphalan was given to the patients no 2 and no 3, colchicine was given to the patient no 4. Labial salivary gland biopsy and 123I-SAP scintigraphy may give positive argument for the diagnosis of systemic amyloidosis in patients with apparently localized amyloidosis.
Several studies have suggested an increased risk of cancer in patients with systemic sclerosis, but the potential risk factors for these cancers remain unknown. The aim of this study was to identify, among patients with systemic sclerosis, factors associated with the development of cancer, with attention to clinical (age, sex, cutaneous sclerosis), immunological (antinuclear antibodies, anticentromere antibodies, anti-Scl-70 antibodies) and histological (pulmonary fibrosis) features. We retrospectively studied 123 patients with systemic sclerosis. The median follow-up period was 4 years. Fourteen cases of cancer (11.3%) were found (lung n = 3, breast n = 2, ovarian n = 2, skin n = 1, thyroid n = 1, rectum n = 1, uterine cervix n = 1, larynx n = 1, pancreas n = 1, myelodysplasia n = 1). The characteristics of systemic sclerosis were similar in patients with and patients without cancer. Yet, the three cases of lung cancers occurred in association with CREST syndromes and anticentromere antibodies.
Pheochromocytoma diagnosis uses the localization of the tumour, particularly thanks to MIBG scintigraphy. The aims of this study were to evaluate the sensibility and specificity of this exam, his opportunity towards clinical and biological profile of patients with pheochromocytoma suspicion in Internal Medicine and towards others techniques of imaging. We tried to define the most effective and least expensive approach of pheochromocytoma diagnosis.
This study was carried out over 15 years period on 80 patients in Internal Medicine who underwent 123I MIBG scintigraphy for pheochromocytoma suspicion.
Among the 80 patients who underwent 123I MIBG scintigraphy, only 18 suffered from a pheochromocytoma. A very few symptoms were specific, like the triad "headaches, sweating, palpitations" whose onlyone third of patients was concerned by. The diagnosis approach carried on with urine catecholamine measurement, who was specific when metanephrines were increased whatever their levels and when normetanephrines were higher or equal than 1,5 time the norme. Then, abdominal CT or MRI scanning and 123I MIBG scintigraphy were performed for localization of the tumor. The sensibility of scintigraphy was 83%, its specificity was 89%. That is comparable with other studies about 131I MIBG.
Prescription of MIBG scintigraphy in Internal Medicine appears to be excessive: 77,5% of patients don't have a pheochromocytoma. It is related to the lack of specific symptoms, the wrong positives in urine normetanephrines measurement and the discovery of incidentaloms by CT scanning. The scintigraphy should be used like a topographic and not a diagnosis exam.
The value of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) detected in the sera of the patients of an Internal Medicine department is not univocal and is still much debated. To test the contribution of such new markers, we reviewed the records of patients having antiphospholipid antibodies detected between 1996 and 1997.
One hundred and twenty four patients, having at least one of these two aPL: lupus anticoagulant (LA), anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL), or one of these two anti-proteins: anti-beta 2glycoprotéin I antibodies (anti-beta 2GPI) or anti-prothrombin antibodies (aPT), were studied. LA was detected by a PTT-LA technique and aCL, anti-beta 2GPI and aPT by ELISA-sandwich techniques. For each patient we recorded sex, age, personal and familial history of thrombosis, fetal losses and systemic disease, the reason of aPL detection, the final diagnosis, activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), platelets count and type of aPL.
The population was composed of 77 women (62%) and 47 men (38%) with a mean age of 54 years [12-92 years]. A thrombocytopenia was strongly correlated to aCL presence (OR = 6.15 et p = 0.03). The reason of aPL detection was venous thrombosis, recurrent fetal losses, systemic disease, infectious disease or fortuitous discovery of a prolonged aPTT. The final diagnosis was a systemic disease in 57% of cases, an infectious disease in 14.5%, a thrombosis in 4.5% and a neoplasia in 3%. LA was detected in 54% of patients, aCL in 39.5%, anti-beta 2GPI in 23% and aPT in 31%. No relationship between the aPTT value and the type of aPL could be established.
Our study shows that familial histories of venous thrombosis or systemic disease are useful to enhance antiphospholipid antibodies detection; that LA is mostly associated to systemic and infectious diseases; that aCL and anti-beta 2GPI are predominant in case of venous thrombosis and that thrombocytopenia has to enhance aCL detection and the discussion about a possible APS.
Water intoxication mostly occurs in psychiatric patients. We observed 13 episodes of severe hyponatremia (less than 120 mmol/l) following a period of increased water consumption in 10 psychiatric patients (5 men, 5 women, mean age 48.8 years) treated with neuroleptics and/or benzodiazepines. Other causes of hyponatremia were excluded. The initial clinical signs were associated with severe gastrointestinal and neurological disorders requiring intensive care. In every case a gradual return to normal of natremia was obtained by creating a negative water balance while compensating for the sodium loss. From a study of urine and plasma osmolality ratio (U/P osm) on admission, several physiopathological mechanisms could be envisaged. A U/P osm ratio lower than 1 (6 cases) suggested a water intake exceeding the maximum dilution capacity of the kidneys (20-25 1), or a lesser water intake with little or no osmolal intake, or again an intrarenal disorder of urine dilution. When the U/P osm ratio was higher than 1 (7 cases), reflecting inappropriate secretion of the antidiuretic hormone, the hyponatremia could be explained by the psychosis itself, the treatment taken by the patients, a disorder of thirst regulation and/or a non-osmotic stimulation of vasopressin. This population, therefore, was heterogeneous: the mechanisms which contribute to this pathology are not fully elucidated, and they probably involve several factors.