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2020 May 15

Am Fam Physician



Top 20 Research Studies of 2019 for Primary Care Physicians.


Ebell MH, Grad R
Am Fam Physician. 2020 May 15; 101(10):608-617.
PMID: 32412223.


In 2019, regular surveillance of 110 English-language research journals identified 254 studies that met the criteria to become POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters). Physician members of the Canadian Medical Association rated these POEMs for their relevance to patients in their practices. This article summarizes the clinical questions and bottom-line answers from the top 20 POEMs of 2019. Taking blood pressure medications at night results in a large mortality reduction over six years compared with morning dosing. Automated devices are the best way to measure blood pressure. Nonfasting lipid profiles are preferred over fasting lipid profiles, and nonfasting and fasting lipid profiles are equally effective at predicting risk. The benefit of statins for primary prevention in people 75 years and older is uncertain at best. Aspirin has no net benefit for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and has no effect on cancer outcomes. An Italian study found fecal immunochemical testing over five biennial screening cycles has a similar colorectal cancer yield as screening colonoscopy, whereas a meta-analysis found that taking aspirin, an anticoagulant, or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug has no impact on the positive predictive value of fecal immunochemical testing. Regarding infections, a meta-analysis showed that patients presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infection are unlikely to have pneumonia if vital signs and the lung examination findings are normal. For streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat), penicillin V at a dosage of 800 mg four times a day for five days is at least as effective as a dosage of 1,000 mg three times a day for 10 days. A primary care study in the United Kingdom reinforced that clinicians should counsel parents of children with lower respiratory tract symptoms to be patient, because these infections can take three weeks or more to fully resolve. Among direct oral anticoagulants, apixaban has the lowest bleeding risk, and cotreating with a proton pump inhibitor significantly reduces bleeding risk. Single ibuprofen doses from 400 to 800 mg significantly reduce acute pain to a similar degree. The two-dose recombinant zoster vaccine is much more effective than the single-dose live, attenuated vaccine but with a greater risk of injection site pain. Exercise helps reduce the risk of falls in older adults. Practice guidelines from 2019 on antithrombotics for atrial fibrillation, the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and screening for breast cancer were judged to be especially relevant.