The year 2021 marked the 40th anniversary of the official start of the AIDS epidemic here in the USA. On June 5, 1981, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a publication from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC; now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) noted that between October 1980 and May 1981, five young men, “all active homosexuals,” were treated for biopsy-confirmed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) at three hospitals in Los Angeles. Two had already died. On the basis of those cases, the CDC hypothesized that there was “an association between some aspect of a homosexual lifestyle or disease acquired through sexual conduct and [PCP] in this population.” This was prior to the discovery of the human

Preeclampsia is one of the most serious health problems that affect pregnant women. It is a multisystem inflammatory syndrome that is often progressive but has an unclear causation. Worldwide, it is the second most common cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Here in the U.S., it is a complication in about 4% of pregnancies. It also accounts for 6% of preterm births and 19% of medically indicated preterm births.

The primary risk factors for preeclampsia include preeclampsia in previous

Our arteries represent the high-pressure side of the human blood circulatory system, veins, of course, being the low-pressure side. But when we say high pressure, what does that really mean? Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg. A blood pressure of 120 mm Hg, when converted to pounds per square inch, or psi, is only about 2.3 psi. This may seem to be a very low amount of pressure when you consider that normal household water pressure is 45 psi. But modern household

In last week’s column about mechanical ventilation, I briefly touched on the topic of advanced directives. Today I would like to expand on that topic. In essence, advanced directives lay out specific instructions to healthcare providers based on your wishes in the event that you do not have the ability or capacity to make them yourself. These documents are known as durable power of attorney for health care, a living will, or a healthcare proxy.

Both a living will and durable power of attorney

Traditionally, doctors have kept medical records on patients as a means of tracking the patient’s health over time and as a memory aide for the doctor. The notes were handwritten and often illegible, sometimes even illegible to the person that wrote them. With technological improvements in this digital world, except for a few small offices, medical records are now kept in electronic form.

Preparing and keeping electronic medical records demands much more time from the clinician as opposed to

A pulmonary nodule is an abnormal area in the lung that is less than 3 cm (sl. over 1 inch) in size. Pulmonary nodules are often discovered by accident when a chest x-ray or chest computed tomography (CT) scan is performed for another reason (this is called an incidental finding). Approximately 50% of those who undergo CT screening for lung cancer are found to have a pulmonary nodule.

The good news is that about 95% of pulmonary nodules are benign (not caused by cancer). A benign solitary

Some of you may remember back in early 2020 when cases of and hospitalizations for COVID-19 were skyrocketing, political leaders scrambled to make sure there were enough ventilators. So, let’s take a closer look at mechanical ventilation, which is the process of using a machine to assist with the work of breathing. Ventilators are frequently used for conditions that cause low oxygen levels (hypoxia, as seen with pneumonia) or high carbon dioxide levels (hypercapnia, as seen with COPD).

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