Fungal infection of the nail is a common condition that causes much concern because of its disfiguring appearance. Although specific treatment is available for this condition, treatment outcome is variable and persistent nail dystrophy post-treatment may cause distress to both the patient and the physician. This article describes the current available treatment options for onychomycosis, management approach and the expected treatment outcome to enhance primary care physicians' confidence in managing this condition. Oral antifungal agents such as terbinafine and itraconazole are good treatment options for onychomycosis. Combination therapy using oral antifungal agents with topical lacquer preparations may provide added benefits. Evaluation of patient's expectations, providing information on treatment outcome, clinical cure and recurrence rates are essential in the management of onychomycosis. This article is intended to guide primary care physicians to achieve realistic treatment goals and for a satisfactory experience in the overall management of this challenging condition.
Unilateral vocal cord palsy secondary to thoracic aortic aneurysm is a rare occurrence. Direct compression of the enlarging thoracic aneurysm on the left recurrent laryngeal nerve causes neuronal injury of the nerve, which is manifested as hoarseness. We present a rare case of unilateral vocal cord palsy in a 60-year-old healthy gentleman caused by a large thoracic aortic aneurysm. This rare presentation, with a serious underlying pathology might be misdiagnosed or delayed. Therefore, it is important for us to have high index of suspicion in cases with a rare presentation such as this.
Rhinoliths result from neglected nasal foreign bodies that gradually increase in size. They are usually discovered incidentally during routine ENT examination or due to the associated symptoms such as nasal obstruction or persistent foul-smelling unilateral nasal discharge. A case of a 14-year-old girl was reported with a year history of the symptom. The foul-smelling nasal discharge noted by her mother was not the main concern to them. She was referred by her primary care physician as she complained of impacted ear wax. However, rhinolith was incidentally found upon routine clinical examination in the ENT clinic and was removed uneventfully.
Otitis externa is a common condition of the ear. It is manifested as narrowing of the lumen owing to the edematous swelling of the ear canal lining. Perichondritis may occur independently or as a complication of the otitis externa. We report a case of perichondritis after using a topical ear drop. Changing the medication provides immediate resolution of the condition.
Background: The incidence of diabetes mellitus is ever increasing. Individuals with diabetes mellitus may have concurrent mental health disorders and are shown to have poorer disease outcomes. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress (DAS) in diabetes patients aged 20 years or more in the primary care setting.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving the use of self-administered questionnaire conducted in eight primary care private and government clinics in Pulau Pinang and Melaka, Malaysia. The validated DASS-21 questionnaire was used as a screening tool for the symptoms of DAS. Prior permission was obtained from the patients and, clearance from ethical committee was obtained before the start of the study. Data analysis was done using SPSS statistical software.
Results: A total of 320 patients with diabetes from eight centres were enrolled via convenience sampling. Sample size was calculated using the Kish’s formula. The prevalence of DAS among patients with diabetes from our study was 26.6%, 40% and 19.4%, respectively. Depression was found to be significantly associated with marital status and family history of DAS; anxiety was significantly
associated with monthly household income, presence of co-morbidities and family history of DAS; and stress was significantly associated with occupation and family history of DAS.
Conclusions: The prevalence of DAS was higher in patients with diabetes compared with the general community. We recommend to routinely screen all patients with diabetes using the DASS-21 questionnaire because it is easy to perform and inexpensive.
Discharging ear is a common symptom in the primary care and private general clinics. Most of the cases are treated with the antibiotic ear drops for otitis externa or otitis media. However, despite an adequate standard therapy, a malignant tumour can also be present with non-specific symptom such as ear discharge, especially in the case of persistent ear discharge. In this paper we have reported a case of an adult woman presented with non-resolving ear discharge who was treated repeatedly with antibiotic ear drop, which was later diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma.
Dengue infection is highly endemic in many tropical countries including Malaysia. However, neurological complications arising from dengue infection is not common; Gullain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is one of these infrequent complications. In this paper, we have reported a case in which a 39-year-old woman presented with a neurological complication of dengue infection without typical symptoms and signs of dengue fever. She had a history of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) followed by an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) weeks prior to her presentation rendering GBS secondary to the post viral URTI and AGE as the most likely diagnosis. Presence of thrombocytopenia was the only clue for dengue in this case.
INTRODUCTION: Hill-Bone compliance to high blood pressure therapy scale (HBTS) is one of the useful scales in primary care settings. It has been tested in America, Africa and Turkey with variable validity and reliability. The aim of this paper was to determine the validity and reliability of the Malay version of HBTS (HBTS-M) for the Malaysian population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: HBTS comprises three subscales assessing compliance to medication, appointment and salt intake. The content validity of HBTS to the local population was agreed through consensus of expert panel. The 14 items used in the HBTS were adapted to reflect the local situations. It was translated into Malay and then back-translated into English. The translated version was piloted in 30 participants. This was followed by structural and predictive validity, and internal consistency testing in 262 patients with hypertension, who were on antihypertensive agent(s) for at least 1 year in two primary healthcare clinics in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Exploratory factor analyses and the correlation between HBTS-M total score and blood pressure were performed. The Cronbach's alpha was calculated accordingly.
RESULTS: Factor analysis revealed a three-component structure represented by two components on medication adherence and one on salt intake adherence. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin statistic was 0.764. The variance explained by each factors were 23.6%, 10.4% and 9.8%, respectively. However, the internal consistency for each component was suboptimal with Cronbach's alpha of 0.64, 0.55 and 0.29, respectively. Although there were two components representing medication adherence, the theoretical concepts underlying each concept cannot be differentiated. In addition, there was no correlation between the HBTS-M total score and blood pressure.
CONCLUSION: HBTS-M did not conform to the structural and predictive validity of the original scale. Its reliability on assessing medication and salt intake adherence would most probably to be suboptimal in the Malaysian primary care setting.
INTRODUCTION: Diabetes-related distress (DRD) refers to patient's concerns about diabetes mellitus, its management, need of support, emotional burden and access to healthcare. The aim of this study was to translate and examine the psychometric properties of the Malay version of the 17-item Diabetes Distress Scale (MDDS-17) in adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D).
METHODS: A standard procedure was used to translate the English 17-items Diabetes Distress Scale into Malay language. We used exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with principal axis factoring and promax rotation to investigate the factor structure. We explored reliability by internal consistency and 1-month test-retest reliability. Construct validity was examined using the World Health Organization quality of life-brief questionnaire, Morisky Medication Adherence Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire and disease-related clinical variables.
RESULTS: A total of 262 patients were included in the analysis with a response rate of 96.7%. A total of 66 patients completed the test-retest after 1 month. EFA supported a three-factor model resulting from the combination of the regimen distress (RD) and interpersonal distress (IPD) subscales; and with a swapping of an item between emotional burden (EB; item 7) and RD (item 3) subscales. Cronbach's α for MDDS-17 was 0.94, the combined RD and IPD subscale was 0.925, the EB subscale was 0.855 and the physician-related distress was 0.823. The test- retest reliability's correlation coefficient was r = 0.29 (n = 66; p = 0.009). There was a significant association between the mean MDDS-17 item score categories (<3 vs ≥3) and HbA1c categories (<7.0% vs ≥7.0%), and medication adherence (medium and high vs ≥low). The instrument discriminated between those having diabetes-related complication, low quality of life, poor medication adherence and depression.
CONCLUSION: The MDDS-17 has satisfactory psychometric properties. It can be used to map diabetes-related emotional distress for diagnostic or clinical use.
Bertolotti's syndrome must be considered as a differential diagnosis for lower back pain in young people. Treatment, whether conservative or operative, is still debatable. In this paper, we report a case of a 20-year-old girl presenting with lower back pain for 8 years. We administered injection with local anaesthetic and steroid injections within the pseudo-articulation; however, the pain was relieved for 3 weeks. Surgical excision of the pseudo-articulation successfully treated her back pain and the sciatica.
Juvenile recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (JRRP) is a rare condition. The varied presentation of this condition predisposes to misdiagnosis and potential life-threatening airway obstruction. In this paper, we have reported a case of JRRP presenting as severe respiratory distress and consequently mistreated as asthmatic attack culminating in a near fatal acute airway obstruction.
Dengue is a common cause of illness seen in primary care in the tropical and subtropical countries. An understanding of the course of disease progression, risk factors, recognition of the warning signs and look out for clinical problems during the different phases of the disease will enable primary care physicians to manage dengue fever in an appropriate and timely manner to reduce morbidity and mortality.
Thyroglossal duct cyst (TDC) is a developmental anomaly that usually appears in early childhood. The common presentation is midline swelling of the neck, which moves with both tongue protrusion and deglutition. Diagnosis is usually clinical and radiological. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) can be used as a tool for the exclusion of malignancy in adult patients. In some cases thyroid scan is done to rule out the presence or absence of the normal thyroid gland. A complete work-up is mandatory before cyst removal given that it contains only thyroid tissue. We report the case of a 32-year-old woman with only thyroid tissue in thyroglossal duct cyst.
BACKGROUND: Personal mission in life can determine the motivation, happiness, career advancement and fulfilment in life of the medical students (MSs) along with improvement in professional/clinical performance of the family physicians. This study explored the personal beliefs, values and goals in the lives of MSs and general practitioners (GPs).
METHODS: Fourth-year MSs at the Universiti Putra Malaysia and GPs who participated in a 2-hour session on 'Ethics in Family Medicine' in 2012 were invited. All the participants submitted the post-session written reflections about their personal missions in life. The written reflections were analysed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 87 MSs and 31 GPs submitted their written reflections. The authors identified 17 categories from the reflections contained by four themes-good vs. smart doctor, professional improvement vs. self-improvement, self-fulfilment and expressed motivation. The most common categories were "to be a good doctor" (97/330) and "professional improvement" (65/330). Many MSs had expressed motivation and wanted to be a smart doctor as compared to the GPs, whereas a larger number of GPs wished to have a fulfilled life and be a good doctor through professional improvement.
CONCLUSION: The difference between the two student groups might indicate different levels of maturity and life experiences. Medical teachers should engage students more effectively in orientating them towards the essential values needed in medical practice.
KEYWORDS: Concept formation; education; goals; medical; medical students general; practitioners; professional; values of life
INTRODUCTION: Continuous professional development (CPD) is an important aspect of a medical practitioner's career. AIMing to be at par with other developed countries for high quality of professional practice, Malaysia is planning to implement compulsory CPD for the doctors.
AIM: The aim of the study was to explore the private general practitioners' (GPs) views, experiences and needs regarding CPD programme in the primary care service.
METHODS: This study used a qualitative methodology. Seven semi-structured interviews and three focus group discussions were conducted with private general practitioners from an urban area of Malaysia between January and December 2012. An interview topic guide was developed based on literature review and researchers' discussions and it was used to guide the interviews. All the interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and the transcripts formed the data for analysis using the thematic approach.
RESULTS: GPs undertook a wide range of CPD programmes to keep up with medical advances, meet patients' expectations and improve financial rewards. Conferences, lectures and online recourses were the most mentioned methods of keeping updated. Some of the GPs felt that peer motivation and networking seem to motivate and facilitate participation in CPD programmes. However, they were wary of the validity and relevance of some CPD programmes, particularly those related to pharmaceutical industry. Although the participants agreed to the new mandatory CPD regulation, they voiced concerns on how it would be implemented and wished for a more effective method of monitoring.
CONCLUSIONS: Organised peer support and relevant CPD content may improve GP participation in CPD but adequate regulatory measure should be in place to monitor the CPD activities.
KEYWORDS: Private general practitioner; continuous; medical education; primary care; professional development; qualitative study