Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista médica de Chile]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/rss.php?pid=0034-988720060010&lang= vol. 134 num. 10 lang. <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/img/en/fbpelogp.gif https://scielo.conicyt.cl <![CDATA[<b>The philosophy of being an internist</b>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000001&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= <![CDATA[<b>Microsatellite instability among patients with colorectal cancer</b>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000002&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: In patients with colorectal carcinoma, insertions or deletions of short sequences of DNA, a phenomenon called microsatellite instability, are observed. Aim: To look for microsatellite instability and mutations of MLH1 and MSH2 gene mutations in patients with colorectal carcinoma. Material and Methods: Ten patients with sporadic colorectal carcinoma and 31 patients fulfilling criteria for hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), aged 9 to 70 years, were studied. Microsatellite instability was studied in samples of tumor and peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA. Six markers were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and capillary electrophoresis. In samples with microsatellite instability, mutations of MLH1 and MSH2 genes were studied by direct sequencing. Results: Thirty four percent of patients had microsatellite instability and among these, 76% had a high degree of instability. BAT40 marker had the higher frequency of instability. No mutations for MLH1 and MSH2 genes were observed. However a new polymorphism, C399T, was identified in exon 3 of MSH2 gene. This polymorphism was observed both in patients with sporadic colorectal carcinoma and patients with HNPCC. Conclusions: There is a high frequency of microsatellite instability among patients with colorectal cancer. A new polymorphism, not previously reported, was identified in MSH2 gene <![CDATA[<em><b>First finding of Chagas disease vectors associated with wild bushes in the Metropolitan Region of Chile</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000003&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Insects of the subfamily triatominae are the biological vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causal agent of Chagas disease. Aim: To search for wild colonies of triatomines in the Metropolitan Region of Chile. Material and Methods: Ad hoc traps were placed in two endemic zones of the Metropolitan Region of Chile, during 30 nights. The dejections of 16 T infestans and 43 M spinolai specimens were examined under the microscope, searching for live metacyclic trypomastigotes. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed in macerates of all insects looking for T cruzi DNA. Results: A total of 269 bugs were captured. Forty four were Triatoma infestans and 225 were Mepraia spinolai. They were not syntopic, since T infestans was restricted to a Southern zone (Calera de Tango) while M spinolai was only found in the Northern zone (Til-Til). Both species were found associated to terrestrial bromeliads (Puya sp) but M spinolai was also detected in stony grounds. Microscopic examination of dejections yielded a trypano-triatomine index of 56.3 and 32.6 for T infestans and M spinolai, respectively. PCR detected T cruzi DNA in 41 and 43% of T infestans and M spinolai specimens, respectively. Conclusions: The finding of T infestans in a wild habitat is noticeable. This is the first report of such phenomenon in Chile. The high infection rates with T cruzi, explains the maintenance of Chagas disease wild cycle in Chile <![CDATA[<em><b>Gallbladder polyps</b></em>: <em><b>correlation between ultrasonographic and histopathological findings</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000004&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Gallbladder polyps are becoming a common finding. The management of these polyps is complicated considering that they can bear malignant lesions. Aim: To analyze the ultrasonographic and histopathologic findings of patients operated due to gallbladder polyps. Patients and methods: The records of patients with ultrasonographic diagnosis of gallbladder polyp and that underwent cholecystectomy in a thirteen years period were reviewed, collecting their demographic, ultrasonographic and histopathological data. Results: One hundred and twenty three patients were operated. The mean age was 44±13 years, and 69% were women. The mean size of polyps in ultrasonography was 7.3±5 mm. Histopathology confirmed the presence of polyps in 79% of patients, with a mean size and number of lesions of 5.1±3.8 mm and 2.1±2, respectively. Nine percent of polyps were greater than 10 mm, and single polyps were significantly larger than the multiple ones (p =0.003). Four cases of adenoma (3.2%) were diagnosed; one of them had in situ carcinoma. All were single and larger than 10 mm. We found a significant correlation between ultrasonographic and histopathological polyp size determination (r =0.47; p =0.002). Polyp size was also a predictor of the presence of adenoma (p =0.043; confidence intervals: 1.006-1.424). Conclusions: There is a good correlation between the size of the gallbladder polyp in ultrasonography and the size in the histopathology report. Gallbladder adenoma is uncommon and it correlates with the size of the polyp. In this series, size was the only predictor of the presence of adenoma <![CDATA[<em><b>Cat-scratch disease</b></em>: <em><b>Review of eight adult patients hospitalized for fever or adenopathy</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000005&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Cat-scratch disease is common among children. Among adults the disease is less often considered in the differential diagnosis of enlarged lymph nodes and fever. Aim: To report the clinical and laboratory features of eight patients with cat-scratch disease. Material and methods: Review of the medical records of eight patients (aged 22 to 57 years, six males) with a serological diagnosis of cat-scratch disease (an IgG titer over 1:256, by immunofluorescence). Results: Only five patients recalled having had contact with cats. Seven had fever and weight loss. Six had excessive sweating and five had chills. Seven had painfully enlarged lymph nodes mainly in submandibular and axillary regions. All had an increased C reactive protein and six had elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Five had leukocytosis and four an elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase. The disease subsided in all, even in one patient that did not receive antimicrobials. Conclusions: Cat-scratch disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of adult patients with lymph adenitis and fever <![CDATA[<em><b>Usefulness of thrombolytic therapy with low doses of streptokinase in acute myocardial infarction</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000006&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: The optimal dose of Streptokinase in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction is not well established. Apparently, the thrombolytic efficacy would not increase with doses over 750.000 units. Aim: To compare the effectiveness and safety of treatment with low doses of Streptokinase, ranging from 500.000 to 750.000 units, in patients with ST elevation acute myocardial infarction. Patients and methods: From September 1993 to September 1998, the GEMI register of patients with acute myocardial infarction, was carried out in 37 hospitals, incorporating 4,938 patients. Of these, 1,631 patients received streptokinase. According to the administered dose of Streptokinase, patients were divided in two groups: 1,465 patients who received 1.5 millions U in 60 minutes (classical therapy group), and 166 patients with ischemic chest discomfort and either ST-segment elevation or left bundle-branch block on the electrocardiogram, who received 500.000 to 750.000 U streptokinase administered in no more than 30 minutes, with heparin, within 0 to 6 hours of symptom onset. Successful reperfusion, mortality, complications, and hospital outcome was evaluated in both groups. Results: The low dose group of patients had a better reperfusion criteria profile. No differences between groups were observed in patient evolution, mortality, maximum Killip classification, post myocardial infarction heart failure, ischemic complications, arrhythmias or mechanical complications. Conclusions: These results suggest that streptokinase in low doses is at least as effective as classical therapy, in the treatment of ST elevation acute myocardial infarction <![CDATA[<em><b>Type 1 diabetes mellitus incidence in Santiago, Chile</b></em>: <em><b>Analysis by counties in the period 2000-2004</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000007&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: There are great geographical differences in the incidence of type I diabetes mellitus. Aim: To determine the incidence rate of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2004 and to observe the distribution of cases in the different counties of Santiago. Material and methods: All the cases diagnosed with DM1 in the Metropolitan Region who fulfilled the following requirements were included in the study: age of onset <15 years, insulin treatment from onset, permanent residency in the area, and a diagnosis made between January, 2000 and December, 2004. Results: The incidence of DM1 was 6.58/100.000 inhabitants/year, and showed a significant increase from 2001 to 2004 (5.44 and 8.33 inhabitants/year, respectively, p <0.04). The incidence of DM1 also increased significantly in children younger than 4 years old. The incidence by counties exhibited large differences, ranging from 1,5 to 26,6/100.000 inhabitants. Counties with higher income, urbanization and low aborigine component showed a high incidence rate of type 1 diabetes. Conclusions: In the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, an increase of the incidence of DM1 has occurred in the period 2000-2004, especially in children younger than 4 years old. Large differences among counties were observed <![CDATA[<em><b>Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm</b></em>: <em><b>Results in 80 consecutive patients</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000008&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) avoids laparotomy, shortens hospital stay and reduces morbidity and mortality related to surgical repair, allowing full patient recovery in less time. Aim: To report short and long term results of endovascular repair of AAA in 80 consecutive patients treated at our institution. Patients and Methods: Between September 1997 and February 2005, three women and 77 men with a mean age 73.6±7.7 years with AAA 5.8±1.0 cm in diameter, were treated. The surgical risk of 38% of patients was grade III according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists classification. Each procedure was performed in the operating room, under local or regional anesthesia, with the aid of digital substraction angiography. The endograft was deployed through the femoral artery (83.7% bifurcated, 16.3% tubular graft). A femoro-femoral bypass was required in 11.3% of cases. Follow-up included a spiral CT scan at 1, 6 and 12 months postoperatively, and then annually. Results: Endovascular repair was successfully completed in 79/80 patients (98.7% technical success). The procedures lasted 147±71 min. Length of stay in the observation unit was 20.6±13.5 h. Blood transfusion was required in 10%. Sixty two percent of the patients were discharged before 72 h. One patient died 8 days after surgery due to a myocardial infarction (1.3%). During follow-up (3-90 months), 1 patient developed late AAA enlargement due to a type I endoleak, requiring a new endograft. No AAA rupture was observed. Survival at 4 years was 84.2% (SE =9.2). Endovascular re-intervention free survival was 82.7% (SE =9.5). Conclusion: Endovascular surgery allows effective exclusion of AAA avoiding progressive enlargement and/or rupture and is a good alternative to open repair. Close and frequent postoperative follow up is mandatory <![CDATA[<em><b>Smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease</b></em>: <em><b>attributable risk determination</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000009&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Smoking is the main risk factor for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Aim: To estimate smoking attributable risk and population attributable risk in COPD patients attended in Public Health Services of Santiago. Materials and methods: A case control study matched by sex and age was carried out. Crude and adjusted attributable risks as well as population attributable risk were estimated, controlled by potential confounders and by interaction variables. Results: Mean ages for cases and controls were 68 and 67 years respectively. When compared to the control group, COPD patients had a higher smoking prevalence (at least 100 cigarettes in their life span: 89.7% vs 60.3%; p <0.01). Among COPD patients, heavy smokers proportion was 4 times higher than in controls, they smoked for more years (43 vs 31; p <0.01) and more cigarettes per day (18 vs 5; p <0.01). Adjusted attributable risk was 87% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 63.7-94.8). If a patient smoked at least 100 cigarettes in his/her life span and this risk was 92.7% (CI: 82.4-96.9) for heavy smokers. Projecting this index to Santiago inhabitants, about 87,000 individuals older than 40 years would be suffering COPD due to smoking. Conclusions: This article confirms the strong association between smoking and COPD. Attributable risks are high and significant, even when they are adjusted by confounding variables. Women had a higher risk than men, at lower levels of tobacco consumption <![CDATA[<b>Diagnosis of bone lesions using image guided percutaneous biopsy</b>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000010&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Percutaneous biopsies have a good sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of bone lesions. Aim: To report the experience with 270 percutaneous bone lesions biopsies guided with fluoroscopy or computed tomography. Material and Methods: Retrospective review of the medical records of 270 patients (mean age 53.4 years, range 4 to 95 years; 134 female) subjected to a percutaneous biopsy of a bone lesion, guided either by computed tomography or fluoroscopy. The final analysis included the tumor type, tumor malignancy, tumor grade and complications of the procedure. Results: One hundred seventy nine lesions were malignant and 91 benign. Of the malignant lesions, 95 were metastatic and 84 were primary. In 3 cases, the initial diagnosis was a false negative (1.1%). Only one patient had a local hematoma after the procedure. Conclusions: Image guided percutaneous biopsy of bone lesions is a safe, effective, fast and economic procedure to obtain a pathological diagnosis of bone lesions <![CDATA[<em><b>Effects of the implementation of Universal Access with Explicit Guaranties (AUGE) Plan on the quality of care of patients with terminal renal failure</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000011&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: The implementation of the AUGE plan for renal failure in Chile in August 2002, generated larger waiting list for outpatient care. Aim: To analyze the incidence of terminal renal failure, the proportion of patients that were admitted to hemodialysis using a definitive vascular access and the lapse of use of transitory catheters, before and after the implementation of AUGE in Calama. Material and Mehtods: Since 1999, in a dialysis center of Calama, all new patients that are admitted to hemodialysis and the type of vascular access they have are registered. Using this registry, the incidence of terminal renal failure and the lapse between the admission to the center and the installation of a definitive vascular access were calculated for the period 2000 to 2005. Results: From January 2000 to December 2003, the incidence of terminal renal failure was stable in 190 ± 21 patients per million inhabitants (ppmh). It decreased between January and September 2004 to 124 ± 18.6. Afterwards, it progressively increased to 221 ± 21 ppmh. In the study period, the proportion of patients admitted to hemodialysis with a definitive access decreased from 63 to 10% (p<0.01) and the mean lapse of transitory catheter use, increased from 32.9 ± 42.6 to 73.1 ± 80.4 days (p<0.01). Conclusions: The implementation of AUGE for chronic renal failure reduced the quality of care of patients admitted to hemodialysis <![CDATA[<em><b>Prevalence of microtia and anotia at the Maternity of the University of Chile Clinical Hospital</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000012&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Background: Microtia is a congenital defect characterized by disturbances in the size and form of the ear lobe. Anotia corresponds to the absence of the ear lobe. Aim: To study the prevalence of microtia and anotia at the Maternity of the University of Chile Clinical Hospital. Material and methods: Analysis of the database of the Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Defects (ECLAMC). All newborns and stillborns with congenital defects are incorporated to this database. Results: The prevalence of microtia-anotia in the period 1982-2001 was 8.7 per 10,000 born alive. Chilean hospitals have an uniform prevalence of 5.2 per 10,000 born alive. Thirty seven percent presented as isolated malformations and the rest were associated to other defects. Eighty six percent of non isolated cases were part of a syndrome. Sixty eight percent were mild or moderate forms and the rest, severe forms. Two cases were stillborns and two newborns died before hospital discharge. Conclusions: The prevalence of microtia in this hospital and in the rest of Chilean hospitals is significantly higher than in the rest of non Chilean hospitals participating in the ECLAMC, that is 4.1 per 10,000 born alive <![CDATA[<em><b>Relathionship between post-traumatic stress disorder, child sexual abuse and sexual re-victimization</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000013&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= There is a relationship between child sexual abuse and adult psychopathology. We report a 35 year-old woman derived to the Psychiatric Service of the Curicó Hospital due to anxiety and depressive symptoms lasting eight years, to illustrate the above mentioned relationship. At the psychiatric unit, a post traumatic stress disorder of belated onset, triggered by sexual abuse during childhood, re-edited after her daughter's birth, was diagnosed. This case illustrates different factors, which, in retrospective studies, have been associated with the morbid consequences of child sexual abuse, and allows an understanding of how different sexually traumatic events, during a person's lifetime, contribute to the development of a psychopathology. The problem was confronted by the mental health team at different levels and symptoms subsided in few interventions. An active search of the traumatic sexual background, allowed this achievement. The importance of studying and validating clinical situations as the present case, with methodologies based on evidence, is stressed <![CDATA[<b>Multiple carcinoid tumors of the small bowel</b>: <b>Report of one case</b>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000014&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Small bowel carcinoid tumors are more common in the distal ileum and they are multiple in 30% of cases. The most common clinical manifestation is abdominal pain and the treatment of choice is surgical excision. We report a 63 years old female consulting for abdominal pain. An intestinal transit by computed axial tomography revealed multiple images compatible with small bowel carcinoid tumors. She had a surgical excision of the involved intestinal segment and the pathological study confirmed the imaging diagnosis. In the follow up, this patients has been asymptomatic <![CDATA[<em><b>Inflammatory reconstitution immune syndrome associated to antiretroviral therapy and meningeal cryptococcosis</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000015&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= The objective of high activity antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in patients with AIDS, is to obtain immune restoration. This means a reduction of the viral load and restitution of the CD4 cell count. A decreased rate of HIV replication improves both the number and function of CD4 cells. Nevertheless, this treatment sometimes results in the reappearance of previous symptoms from treated conditions due to opportunistic infections (ie: tuberculosis, criptococcosis, hepatitis, Pneumocystis jirovesi, toxoplasmosis, etc) or non infectious condition such as sarcoidosis, Graves disease or Kaposi sarcoma. This is known as Inflammatory Reconstitution Immune Syndrome (IRIS). We report a 37 year-old woman in stage C3-AIDS with a previous criptococcal meningitis. She was treated, achieving a marked improvement with treatment and subsequent suppressive therapy with fluconazole 200 mg/day. IRIS appeared after 8 months of ongoing antiretroviral therapy with immune restoration with the development of aseptic meningitis and intracranial hypertension. The opportunistic agent could not be identified by cultures. Additional laboratory tests excluded toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, bacterial cerebral abscesses, syphilitic cerebral gummas, and lymphoma. Brain CT and magnetic resonance studies were compatible with brain vasculitis and leptomeningitis. The patient condition improved with general measures, such as a repeated lumbar punctures and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. We conclude that this patient had an IRIS due to a Cryptococcus neoformans antigen <![CDATA[<em><b>Accidental ingestion of magnets in children</b></em>: <em><b>Report of three cases</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000016&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Accidental ingestion of foreign bodies in childhood is an increasing problem. Although many of them can be treated with an expectant approach, allowing their passage through the gastrointestinal tract, magnets must be extracted, due to their high rate of complications, such as perforation. We report three patients that ingested magnets. A five year-old male was operated with an extensive ulceration of the jejunum, where a cylindrical magnet was extracted. A four year-old female was operated with a perforation of the anterior wall of the stomach and three magnets were extracted from the peritoneal cavity. A four year-old female, was transferred from a hospital where she had been operated for a magnet ingestion that provoked three perforations in the small bowel <![CDATA[<i>Definition of Internal Medicine, Internist, Mission and Vision of Sociedad Medica de Santiago (Chilean Society of Internal Medicine)</i>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000017&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Accidental ingestion of foreign bodies in childhood is an increasing problem. Although many of them can be treated with an expectant approach, allowing their passage through the gastrointestinal tract, magnets must be extracted, due to their high rate of complications, such as perforation. We report three patients that ingested magnets. A five year-old male was operated with an extensive ulceration of the jejunum, where a cylindrical magnet was extracted. A four year-old female was operated with a perforation of the anterior wall of the stomach and three magnets were extracted from the peritoneal cavity. A four year-old female, was transferred from a hospital where she had been operated for a magnet ingestion that provoked three perforations in the small bowel <![CDATA[<em><b>Tattooing and piercing in teenagers</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000018&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= The presence of mutilations in the form of tattooing and body piercing is becoming increasingly common in adolescents, a practice that is not free of risk. Reported complications include local infections, bleeding, tearing, hypersensitivity reactions, transfusion-transmitted diseases (hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV, syphilis), Chagas' disease and infective endocarditis. On the other hand, several studies have demonstrated an association between body modifications and high-risk behavior in adolescents, as alcohol or drug abuse, cigarette smoking, violence and schooling problems. There is also an association with depression, suicide, eating disorders and other psychophysiologic disorders. This is a review of body modifications in adolescents, emphasizing in the risks, complications and motivations of this practice <![CDATA[<em><b>Circulatory mechanical support</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000019&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Despite advances in medical treatment, the prognosis of advanced heart failure remains poor. The number of hospitalizations for heart failure exacerbations continues to increase and most patients will ultimately die of complications related to heart failure. Implantable left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are currently in use throughout the world with increasing frequency. This paper is a comprehensive review about mechanical support, focusing on a general description of the differents LVAD, complications and mortality <![CDATA[<em><b>What is Internal Medicine?</b></em>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000020&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Internal Medicine can be defined as a medical specialty devoted to the comprehensive care of adult patients, focused in the diagnosis and non surgical treatment of diseases affecting internal organs and systems (excluding gyneco-obstetrical problems) and the prevention of those diseases. This position paper reviews the history of Internal Medicine, the birth of its subspecialties and the difficulties faced by young physicians when they decide whether to practice as internist or in a subspecialty. In Chile as in most occidental countries formal training in a subspecialty of internal medicine requires previous certification in internal medicine but the proportion of young physicians who remain in practice as general internists appears to be considerably lower than those who choose a subspecialty. The main reasons for this unbalance can be related to financial advantages (by the practice of specialized technologies) and the patients' tendency to request direct assistance by a professional thought to be better qualified to take care of their specific problems. Training programs in internal medicine should consider a greater emphasis in comprehensive outpatient care instead of the traditional emphasis for training in hospital wards <![CDATA[<i>Serological study for Chagas disease in children younger than 10 years old from Valparaiso and San Antonio, Chile</i>]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000021&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Internal Medicine can be defined as a medical specialty devoted to the comprehensive care of adult patients, focused in the diagnosis and non surgical treatment of diseases affecting internal organs and systems (excluding gyneco-obstetrical problems) and the prevention of those diseases. This position paper reviews the history of Internal Medicine, the birth of its subspecialties and the difficulties faced by young physicians when they decide whether to practice as internist or in a subspecialty. In Chile as in most occidental countries formal training in a subspecialty of internal medicine requires previous certification in internal medicine but the proportion of young physicians who remain in practice as general internists appears to be considerably lower than those who choose a subspecialty. The main reasons for this unbalance can be related to financial advantages (by the practice of specialized technologies) and the patients' tendency to request direct assistance by a professional thought to be better qualified to take care of their specific problems. Training programs in internal medicine should consider a greater emphasis in comprehensive outpatient care instead of the traditional emphasis for training in hospital wards <![CDATA[Fe de erratum]]> https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-98872006001000022&lng=&nrm=iso&tlng= Internal Medicine can be defined as a medical specialty devoted to the comprehensive care of adult patients, focused in the diagnosis and non surgical treatment of diseases affecting internal organs and systems (excluding gyneco-obstetrical problems) and the prevention of those diseases. This position paper reviews the history of Internal Medicine, the birth of its subspecialties and the difficulties faced by young physicians when they decide whether to practice as internist or in a subspecialty. In Chile as in most occidental countries formal training in a subspecialty of internal medicine requires previous certification in internal medicine but the proportion of young physicians who remain in practice as general internists appears to be considerably lower than those who choose a subspecialty. The main reasons for this unbalance can be related to financial advantages (by the practice of specialized technologies) and the patients' tendency to request direct assistance by a professional thought to be better qualified to take care of their specific problems. Training programs in internal medicine should consider a greater emphasis in comprehensive outpatient care instead of the traditional emphasis for training in hospital wards