Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome

30/06/2009

Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a condition where the heart ventricles become pre-excited. In the normal heart beat, first the sinoatrial  (SA) node signals the atria of the the heart to contract, This is then followed by the atrioventricular (AV) node signalling the heart ventricles to contract. The electrical signal for this contraction travels from the SA node to the AV node via the electrical pathway of the bundle of  his.

In Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome another additional electrical pathway called the bundle of Kent allows for electrical signals to travel from the SA to the AV node. This will result in ventricular pre-excitation (the ventricles may become over stimulated) and paroxyomal reentrant tachycardia (raised heart rate).

Wolff-Parkinson-Whitesyndrome.jpg image by trimurtulu

The above white arrows shows the abnormal, additional electrical activity pathway to the ventricles  through the bundle of kent. In Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome the normal pathway of electrical activity is maintained and the additional electrical stimulus to the ventricles through the bundle of kent causes ventricular pre-excitation.

The above shows the pathway of normal electrical stimulus through the heart via the bundle of His. in red with numbering

This is a hereditary disease, with the affected gene being carried on chromosome 7, band q3.

MacRae et al. 1995. Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome Maps to a Locus on Chromosome 7q3. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 96: 1216-1220.


Gonorrhea

29/06/2009

Gonorrhea is a infection caused by infection with the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is transmistted through skin-skin contact of an infected individual or through contact of mucus membranes with contaminated body fluids.

Resultant infections:

  • conjuntivitis (infection of the white of the eye)
  • pharyngitis (infection of the throat)
  • proctatitis (infection of the anus and surrounding mucosa)
  • urethritis (urinary tract infection)
  • prostatitis (infection of the prostate gland)
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (in women this can lead to sterility)
  • orchitis (infection of the testis)

 

Severe prolonged infection may result in bacterial infection of the:

  • endocardidtis (inflammation of the inner linning of the heart)
  • meningitis (inflammation of the meningeal layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
  • gonococcal dermatitis-arthritis syndrome

Neonatal Conjunctivitis

  • infection contracted by the neonate during vaginal birth of an infected mother
  • Silver nitrate or antibiotics are often administered at birth to prevent infectious scaring and damage to the conjuctiva of the eye

Symptoms:

Men:

  • burning sensation when urinating
  • white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis.
  • painful or swollen testicles.

Women:

  • painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods

Treatment:

antiobiotics such as penecillin and cephalexone

sexual partners also need to undergo treatment to prevent reinfection.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2009. Gonorrhea. Retrived June 29, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm


Tonic clonic (Gran or Grand mal) seizure

27/06/2009

Tonic clonic seizure are a type of generalized seizure affecting the entire brain.

They are formerly known as grand mal seizures or gran mal seizures.

characteristics:

  • loss of consciousness
  • falling
  • stiffening of the body (tonic phase)
  • rhythmic jerking movements or convulsions (clonic phase.)

The Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. 2009. Common Epilepsy Terms. Retrieved June 26, 2009 from http://www.epilepsysandiego.org/common_terms.htm


Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test

26/06/2009

What is is?

Prostate specific antigen is a protein manufactured exclusively by the prostate gland.

How does it work?

This antigien is present at low levels (0-4.0 ng/mL) in the blood serum of healthy men. However, increased levels of this antigen are present in the blood of an individual with prostate cancer.

Application:

This discovery has lead to a simple blood test  effectlivly being used in the early detection of prostate cancer.

  • PSA levels of less than 4 ( may vary with age ) are considered normal
  • it is important to note that prostate cancer may exist even with PSA levels in the normal range.
  • PSA levels over 4 may be considered elevated and may indicate benign disease or prostate cancer.
  • The higher the PSA level, the more likely the presence of cancer.
  • This test may be routinely used to detect prostate cancer in men over 50
  • Men at a higher risk of prostate cancer or with a family history of prostate cancer may wish to consulting their family physician about this test to begin screening when they are 40-45 years old.

 

The BC Cancer Agency. 2009. Prostate Cancer. Retrived June 26, 2009 from http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/Screening/Prostate.htm

The US National Cancer Insitite. 2009. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. retrieved June 26, 2009 from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/PSA/print?page=&keyword=


Raynaud’s disease

25/06/2009
  • A vascular disorder that affects blood flow to the extremities.
  • The disease affects the fingers, toes, nose and ears
  • Low blood flow to extremities results in skin discolouration and pain when exposed to temperature changes or stress.

Causes:

  • Pathologies (Diseases) that directly damage the arteries or damage the nerves that control the arteries in the hands and feet
  • Repetitive actions that have caused nerve damage to the affected area, this affects neural arterial control of the affected region
  • Exposure to certain chemicals that may cause neural and vasculature damage at the site
  • Medications that constrict the arteries or affect blood pressure

 

 

 

Chabner, Davi-Ellen. 2007. The Language of Medicine. 8th ed. Saunders Elsevier, Missouri


Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)

24/06/2009

Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a congenital (present at birth) heart defect which is classically understood to involve four anatomical abnormalities.

4 characteristic abnormalities:

  • pulmonary stenosis
  • ventricular septal defect
  • malposition of the aorta over both ventricles
  • hypertrophy of the right ventricle

Symptoms:

  • cyanosis at birth (blueish tinge of skin and mucus membranes indicative of inadequate oxygenation of tissues)

Treatment:

  • Surgical repair of affected areas of the heart
  • Complications include arrhythmias (a primary cause of late morbidity) and sudden cardia death
  • Holter electrocarography has increased the detection of these post surgical arrhythmias, allowing for antiarrhythmic treatments. 

M.Gatzoulis, S.Balaji, S.Webber, S.Siu, J.Hokanson, C.Poile, M.Rosenthal, M.Nakazawa, J.Moller, P.Gillette. 2000. Risk factors for arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death late after repair of tetralogy of Fallot: a multicentre study. The Lancet. 356: (9234) 975-981.


Renal Calculi (kidney stones)

23/06/2009

Types:

1.      Calcium stones.

  •  The most common type.
  • Typically chemical compostion of calcium oxalate.
  • Oxalate is found in some fruits and vegetables
  • avoiding foods rich in oxalates, such as dark green vegetables, nuts and chocolate may help prevent future renal calculi formation of this type within the body.

2.      Struvite stones

  •  Higher prevalence in women

3.      Uric acid stones.

  • Are a byproduct of protein metabolism
  • Commonly seen with gout
  • May result from certain genetic disorders of the hemopoietic (blood-producing) tissues.

4.      Cystine stones.

  • the minority of renal calculi are of this type
  • Are the result of a hereditary disorder that causes your kidneys to excrete massive amounts of certain amino acids (cystinuria).

Symptoms:

  • Pain in your side and back, below your ribs
  • Episodes of pain lasting 20 to 60 minutes, of varying intensity
  • Pain “waves” radiating from your side and back, to your lower abdomen and groin
  • Bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Pain with urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • “Urgency” (persistent urge to urinate)
  • Fever and chills (indicates an infection is also present)
  • Treatment:

    In cases where renal calculi are too large to pass through the ureters and then out the urethra, ultrasonic waves may be used to break the stones into smaller pieces through a procedure called lithotripsy. 

    Dietary associations to renal calculi deveopment:

    • diets high in:
    • salt
    • sugar
    • soy
    • caffeine

    Prevention:

    • maintaining adequate hydration
    • maintaining an active lifestyle

    Chabner, Davi-Ellen. 2007. The Language of Medicine. 8th ed. Saunders Elsevier, Missouri

    Mercola, Joseph. 2009. Who Knew Preventing Kidney Stones Was this Easy?. retrived June 23, 2009 from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/06/23/Who-Knew-Preventing-Kidney-Stones-was-This-Easy.aspx


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