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PUV is the most common cause of severe types of urinary tract obstruction in children. It is thought to develop in the early stages of fetal development. The abnormality affects only males and occurs in about one in 8,000 births. This disorder is usually sporadic (occurs by chance). However, some cases have been seen in twins and siblings, suggesting a genetic component.



Varicose veins are dilated, bulging, tortuous superficial veins, measuring at least 3 mm in diameter. The smaller and less tortuous reticular veins are dilated intradermal veins, which appear blue-green, measure 1 to 3 mm in diameter, and do not protrude from the skin surface. Telangiectasias, or spider veins, are small, dilated veins, less than 1 mm in diameter, located near the skin surface, and form blue, purple, or red linear, branching, or spider-web patterns.

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Varicose veins can be categorized as primary or secondary. Primary varicose veins originate in the superficial system and result from defective structure and function of the valves of the saphenous veins, intrinsic weakness of the vein wall, and high intraluminal pressure. Approximately one-half of these patients have a family history of varicose veins. Other factors associated with primary varicose veins include aging, pregnancy, hormonal therapy, obesity, and prolonged standing. Secondary varicose veins result from venous hypertension, associated with deep venous insufficiency or deep venous obstruction, and incompetent perforating veins that cause enlargement of superficial veins. Arteriovenous fistulas also cause varicose veins in the affected limb.

Chronic venous insufficiency is a consequence of incompetent veins in which there is venous hypertension and extravasation of fluid and blood elements into the tissue of the limb. It may occur in patients with varicose veins but usually is caused by disease in the deep veins. It also is categorized as primary or secondary. Primary deep venous insufficiency is a consequence of an intrinsic structural or functional abnormality in the vein wall or venous valves leading to valvular reflux. Secondary deep venous insufficiency is caused by obstruction and/or valvular incompetence from previous deep vein thrombosis (Chap. 300). Deep venous insufficiency occurs following deep vein thrombosis, as the delicate valve leaflets become thickened and contracted and can no longer prevent retrograde flow of blood and the vein itself becomes rigid and thick walled. Although most veins recanalize after an episode of thrombosis, the large proximal veins may remain occluded. Secondary incompetence develops in distal valves because high pressures distend the vein and separate the leaflets. Other causes of secondary deep venous insufficiency include May-Thurner syndrome, where the left iliac vein is occluded or stenosed by extrinsic compression from the overlapping right common iliac artery; arteriovenous fistulas resulting in increased venous pressure; congenital deep vein agenesis or hypoplasia; and venous malformations as may occur in Klippel-Trénaunay-Weber and Parkes-Weber syndromes.





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Complications of Injecting Drug Use

  • Local problems—Abscess (Figures 240-2 
    Image not available.

    A 32-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes developed large abscesses all over her body secondary to injection of cocaine and heroin. Her back shows the large scars remaining after the healing of these abscesses. (Courtesy of ­Richard P. Usatine, MD.)

    and 240-3; Abscess), cellulitis, septic thrombophlebitis, local induration, necrotizing fasciitis, gas gangrene, pyomyositis, mycotic aneurysm, compartmental syndromes, and foreign bodies (e.g., broken needle parts) in local areas.2
    • IDUs are at higher risk of getting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) skin infections that the patient may think are spider bites (Figure 240-4).
    • Some IDUs give up trying to inject into their veins and put the cocaine directly into the skin. This causes local skin necrosis that produces round atrophic scars (Figure 240-5).
  • IDUs are at risk for contracting systemic infections, including HIV and hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
    • Injecting drug users are at risk of endocarditis, osteomyelitis (Figures 240-6and 240-7), and an abscess of the epidural region. These infections can lead to long hospitalizations for intravenous antibiotics. The endocarditis that occurs in IDUs involves the right-sided heart valves (see Chapter 50, Bacterial Endocarditis).2 They are also at risk of septic emboli to the lungs, group A β-hemolytic streptococcal septicemia, septic arthritis, and candidal and other fungal infections.


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A 75-year-old triathlete complains of gradually worsening vision over the past year. It seems to be involving near and far vision. The patient has never required corrective lenses and has no significant medical history other than diet-controlled hypertension. He takes no regular medications. Physical examination is normal except for bilateral visual acuity of 20/100. There are no focal visual field defects and no redness of the eyes or eyelids. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

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Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of painless, gradual bilateral central visual loss. It occurs as nonexudative (dry) or exudative (wet) forms. Recent genetic data have shown an association with the alternative complement pathway gene for complement factor H. The mechanism link for that association is unknown. The nonexudative form is associated with retinal drusen that leads to retinal atrophy. Treatment with vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc may retard the visual loss. Exudative macular degeneration, which is less common, is caused by neovascular proliferation and leakage of choroidal blood vessels. Acute visual loss may occur because of bleeding. Exudative macular degeneration may be treated with intraocular injection of a vascular endothelial growth factor antagonist (bevacizumab or ranibizumab). Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids usually related to acne rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, or staphylococcal infection. Diabetic retinopathy, now a leading cause of blindness in the United States, causes gradual bilateral visual loss in patients with long-standing diabetes. Retinal detachment is usually unilateral and causes visual loss and an afferent pupillary defect.


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A 42-year-old African-American man has been diagnosed with hypertension for the past 10 years and treated with medication. One morning, he is found unresponsive by his wife. He is taken to the emergency department and pronounced dead by the physician. An autopsy revealed cardiac hypertrophy and a narrowing of the aorta just distal to the ligamentum arteriosum, with dilation of the intercostal artery's ostia. How could the death have possibly been prevented?



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