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Hypokalemia – low serum potassium level

  • Potassium levels of less than 3.5 mEq/L in the blood are diagnostic of hypokalemia
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Determining Prognosis: Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (Reading & Sharing)

The renal system maintains internal homeostasis, which is necessary for metabolism:

  • maintain fluid balance
  • excrete waste products
  • conserve nutrients
  • ensure acid-base balance
  • help regulate glucose levels
  • play a role in hormone secretion which is key to blood pressure regulation.

Criteria indicating terminal prognosis for patients with end-stage renal disease can be as follows:

Patient meets criteria for dialysis and/or renal transplant and refuses. Patient with renal failure on dialysis who chooses to discontinue dialysis. and Lab criteria:

  • Creatinine clearance <10 mL/min (<15mL/min with diabetes)
  • Serum creatinine > 8.0 mg/dl (>6.0 mg/dl with diabetes)
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Determining Prognosis: Patients with End-Stage AIDS (Reading & Sharing)

The human immunodeficiency retrovirus causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), in which immunity is profoundly reduced through destruction of CD4 T lymphocytes and macrophages. The CD4 recognize infected cells and foreign antibodies, activate antibody-producing lymphocytes, and orchestrate cell-mediated immunity in which infected cells and foreign antigens are destroyed. When viral loads climb and CD4 counts drop, the immune system cannot resist the development of opportunistic infections and malignancies. AIDS is defined as a CD4 count < 200/ul or occurrence of AIDS defining conditions. AIDS is a syndrome once considered rapidly fatal. However, HIV has become a chronic disease as antiretroviral drugs and drugs controlling opportunistic infections have successfully prolonged life: over 35.3 million people across the globe are living with HIV, of whom 1.3 million are North Americans. Overall, the impact of antiretroviral on survival has made it difficult to use traditional prognostic indicators, and the clinical course of HIV/AIDS is fluctuating, with considerable variation among patients, and is marked by a number of opportunistic infections requiring treatment. Effective prevention strategies, earlier diagnosis, and the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) have all improved survival rates. Despite this, there remain approximately 20,000 AIDS deaths per year in the United States. A viral load of more than 100,000 copies of a CD4 count below 25 cells/mcl may predict a terminal condition if a patient is declining in function, choosing to forgo medication, antiretrovirals are no longer effective, or life-threatening complications have developed. Continue reading “Determining Prognosis: Patients with End-Stage AIDS (Reading & Sharing)”

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Determining Prognosis: Patients with End-Stage Neurologic Disease (Reading & Sharing)

The three major subgroups: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, cerebrovascular disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related motor neuron disorders.

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia

    • Inability to ambulate without assistance (FAST 7-C)
    • inability to speak or communicate meaningfully with speech limited to approximately a half-dozen or fewer intelligible or different words (FAST 7-B)
    • Loss of ADL functions including bathing and dressing (FAST 6)
    • Incontinence of bowel and bladder (FAST 6)
    • one or more of the following comorbid conditions in last 3-6 months
      • Aspiration pneumonia
      • Pyelonephritis or upper urinary tract infection
      • Septicemia
      • Decubitus ulcers, usually multiple and stages II or IV
      • Fever, recurrent after antibiotics
      • An altered nutritional status as manifested by:
        • difficulty swallowing or refusal to eat such that sufficient fluid or caloric intake cannot be maintained and the patient refuses artificial nutritional support
        • OR
        • If the patient is receiving artificial nutritional support (NG or G-tube or parenteral hyperalimentation), there must be evidence of an impaired nutritional status as defined in the General Guidelines (greater or equal 10% loss of body weight)

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