CH. 31 Assessment and Management of Patients With Vascular Disorders and Problems of Peripheral Circulation

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A client who underwent total hip replacement exhibits a red, painful area on the calf of the affected leg. What test validates presence of thromboembolism?
a) Homans'
b) Rinne
c) Romberg's
d) Phalen's

a) Homans'
Explanation:
A positive Homans' sign, or pain in the calf elicited upon flexion of the ankle with the leg straight, indicates the presence of a thrombus. Testing for Romberg's sign assesses cerebellar function. Phalen's test assesses carpal tunnel syndrome. The Rinne test compares air and bone conduction in both ears to screen for or confirm hearing loss.

A physician orders blood coagulation tests to evaluate a client's blood-clotting ability. The nurse knows that such tests are important in assessing clients at risk for thrombi, such as those with a history of atrial fibrillation, infective endocarditis, prosthetic heart valves, or myocardial infarction. Which test determines a client's response to oral anticoagulant drugs?
a) Bleeding time
b) Platelet count
c) Prothrombin time (PT)
d) Partial thromboplastin time (PTT)

c) Prothrombin time (PT)
Explanation:
PT determines a client's response to oral anticoagulant therapy. This test measures the time required for a fibrin clot to form in a citrated plasma sample following addition of calcium ions and tissue thromboplastin and compares this time with the fibrin-clotting time in a control sample. The physician should adjust anticoagulant dosages as needed, to maintain PT at 1.5 to 2.5 times the control value. Bleeding time indicates how long it takes for a small puncture wound to stop bleeding. The platelet count reflects the number of circulating platelets in venous or arterial blood. PTT determines the effectiveness of heparin therapy and helps physicians evaluate bleeding tendencies. Physicians diagnose appoximately 99% of bleeding disorders on the basis of PT and PTT values.

Which of the following are characteristics of arterial insufficiency?
a) Aching, cramping pain
b) Superficial ulcer
c) Diminished or absent pulses
d) Pulses are present, may be difficult to palpate

c) Diminished or absent pulses
Explanation:
A diminished or absent pulse is a characteristic of arterial insufficiency. Venous characteristics include superficial ulcer formation, an aching and cramping pain, and presence of pulses.

A client has been diagnosed with peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Which of the following instructions is appropriate for the nurse to give the client for promoting circulation to the extremities?
a) Participate in a regular walking program.
b) Massage the calf muscles if pain occurs.
c) Use a heating pad to promote warmth.
d) Keep the extremities elevated slightly.

a) Participate in a regular walking program.
Explanation:
Clients diagnosed with peripheral arterial occlusive disease should be encouraged to participate in a regular walking program to help develop collateral circulation. They should be advised to rest if pain develops and to resume activity when pain subsides. Extremities should be kept in a dependent position to promote circulation; elevation of the extremities will decrease circulation. Heating pads should not be used by anyone with impaired circulation to avoid burns. Massaging the calf muscles will not decrease pain. Intermittent claudication subsides with rest.

To check for arterial insufficiency when a client is in a supine position, the nurse should elevate the extremity at a 45-degree angle and then have the client sit up. The nurse suspects arterial insufficiency if the assessment reveals:
a) dependent pallor.
b) elevational rubor.
c) a 30-second filling time for the veins.
d) no rubor for 10 seconds after the maneuver.

a) dependent pallor.
Explanation:
If arterial insufficiency is present, elevation of the limb would yield a pallor from the lack of circulation. Rubor and increased venous filling time would suggest venous problems secondary to venous trapping and incompetent valves.

A nurse is reviewing self-care measures for a client with peripheral vascular disease. Which statement indicates proper self-care measures?
a) "I have my wife look at the soles of my feet each day."
b) "I like to soak my feet in the hot tub every day."
c) "I stopped smoking and use only chewing tobacco."
d) "I walk only to the mailbox in my bare feet."

a) "I have my wife look at the soles of my feet each day."
Explanation:
A client with peripheral vascular disease should examine his feet daily for redness, dryness, or cuts. If a client isn't able to do this examination on his own, then a caregiver or family member should help him. A client with peripheral vascular disease should avoid hot tubs because decreased sensation in the feet may make him unable to tell if the water is too hot. The client should always wear shoes or slippers on his feet when he is out of bed to help minimize trauma to the feet. Any type of nicotine, whether it's from cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, can cause vasoconstriction and further decrease blood supply to the extremities.

Vasodilation or vasoconstriction produced by an external cause will interfere with a nurse's accurate assessment of a client with peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Therefore, the nurse should:
a) match the room temperature to the client's body temperature.
b) maintain room temperature at 78° F (25.6° C).
c) keep the client warm.
d) keep the client uncovered.

C) keep the client warm.
Explanation:
The nurse should keep the client covered and expose only the portion of the client's body that she's assessing. The nurse should also keep the client warm by maintaining his room temperature between 68° F and 74° F (20° and 23.3° C). Extreme temperatures aren't good for clients with PVD. The valves in their arteries and veins are already insufficient, and exposing them to vast changes in temperature could affect assessment findings. Keeping the client uncovered would cause him to become chilled. Matching the room temperature to the client's body temperature is inappropriate.

Which of the following is a characteristic of an arterial ulcer?
a) Brawny edema
b) Border regular and well demarcated
c) Ankle-brachial index (ABI) > 0.90
d) Edema may be severe

b) Border regular and well demarcated
Explanation:
Characteristics of an arterial ulcer include a border that is regular and demarcated. Brawny edema, ABI > 0.90, and edema that may be severe are characteristics of a venous ulcer.

Which of the following is accurate regarding the effects of nicotine and tobacco smoke on the body? Select all that apply.
a) Reduces circulation to the extremities
b) Impairs transport and cellular use of oxygen
c) Causes vasospasm
d) Increases blood viscosity
e) Decreases blood viscosity

a) Reduces circulation to the extremities
b) Impairs transport and cellular use of oxygen
c) Causes vasospasm
d) Increases blood viscosity
Explanation:
Nicotine from tobacco products causes vasospasm and can dramatically reduce circulation to the extremities. Tobacco smoke also impairs transport and cellular use of oxygen and increases blood viscosity.

A home health nurse is seeing an elderly female client for the first time. During the physical assessment of the client's feet, the nurse notes several circular ulcers around the tips of the toes on both feet. The bases of the ulcers are pale, and the client reports the ulcers to be very painful. From these assessment findings, the nurse suspects that the cause of the ulcers is which of the following?
a) Neither venous nor arterial
b) Arterial insufficiency
c) Trauma
d) Venous insufficiency

b) Arterial insufficiency
Explanation:
Characteristics of arterial insuffiency ulcers include location at the tips of the toes, extreme painfulness, and circular shape with pale to black ulcer bases. Ulcers caused by venous insufficiency will be irregular in shape, minimal pain if superficial (can be painful), and usually located around the ankles or the anterier tibial area.

A home health nurse is seeing an elderly male client for the first time. During the physical assessment of the skin on the lower legs, the nurse notes edema, brown pigmentation in the gater area, pedal pulses, and a few irregularly shaped ulcers around the ankles. From these findings, the nurse knows that the client has a problem with peripheral circulation. Which of the following does the nurse suspect?
a) Trauma
b) Arterial insufficiency
c) Neither venous nor arterial insufficiency
d) Venous insufficiency

d) Venous insufficiency
Explanation:
Symptoms of venous insufficiency include present pedal pulses, edema, pigmentation in gater area, and a reddish blue color. Ulcers caused by venous insufficiency will be irregular in shape and usually located around the ankles or the anterior tibial area. Characteristics of arterial insufficiency ulcers include location at the tips of the toes, great pain, and circular shape with a pale to black ulcer base.

Beginning warfarin concomitantly with heparin can provide a stable INR by which day of heparin treatment?
a) 5
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4

a) 5
Explanation:
Beginning warfarin concomitantly with heparin can provide a stable INR by day 5 of heparin treatment, at which time the heparin maybe discontinued.

A client complains of leg pain brought on by walking several blocks — a symptom that first arose several weeks earlier. The client's history includes diabetes mellitus and a two-pack-per-day cigarette habit for the past 42 years. The physician diagnoses intermittent claudication and orders pentoxifylline (Trental), 400 mg three times daily with meals. Which instruction concerning long-term care should the nurse provide?
a) "See the physician if complications occur."
b) "Practice meticulous foot care."
c) "Consider cutting down on your smoking."
d) "Reduce your level of exercise."

b) "Practice meticulous foot care."
Explanation:
Intermittent claudication and other chronic peripheral vascular diseases reduce oxygenation to the feet, making them susceptible to injury and poor healing. Therefore, meticulous foot care is essential. The nurse should teach the client to bathe his feet in warm water and dry them thoroughly, cut the toenails straight across, wear well-fitting shoes, and avoid taking medications without the approval of a physician. Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, this client should stop smoking, not just consider cutting down. Daily walking is beneficial to clients with intermittent claudication. To evaluate the effectiveness of the therapeutic regimen, this client should see the physician regularly, not just when complications occur.

Which of the following medications is considered a thrombolytic?
a) Heparin
b) Lovenox
c) Coumadin
d) Alteplase

d) Alteplase
Explanation:
Alteplase is considered a thrombolytic, which lyses and dissolves thrombi. Thrombolytic therapy is most effective when given within the first 3 days after acute thrombosis. Heparin, Coumadin, and Lovenox do not lyse clots.

Which of the following diagnostic tests are used to quantify venous reflux and calf muscle pump ejection?
a) Lymphangiography
b) Air plethysmography
c) Lymphoscintigraphy
d) Contrast phlebography

b) Air plethysmography
Explanation:
Air plethysmography is used to quantify venous reflux and calf muscle pump action. Contrast phlebography involves injecting a radiopaque contrast agent into the venous system. Lymphoscintigraphy is done when a radioactively labeled colloid is injected subcutaneously in the second interdigital space. The extremity is then exercised to facilitate the uptake of the colloid by the lymphatic system, and serial images are obtained at present intervals. Lymphoangiography provides a way of detecting lymph node involvement resulting from metastatic carcinoma, lymphoma, or infection in sites that are otherwise inaccessible to the examiner except by surgery.

Two days after undergoing a total abdominal hysterectomy, a client complains of left calf pain. Venography reveals deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When assessing this client, the nurse is likely to detect:
a) loss of hair on the lower portion of the left leg.
b) left calf circumference 1" (2.5 cm) larger than the right.
c) pallor and coolness of the left foot.
d) a decrease in the left pedal pulse.

b) left calf circumference 1" (2.5 cm) larger than the right.
Explanation:
Signs of DVT include inflammation and edema in the affected extremity, causing its circumference to exceed that of the opposite extremity. Pallor, coolness, decreased pulse, and hair loss in an extremity signal interrupted arterial blood flow, which doesn't occur in DVT.

A client is hospitalized for repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The nurse must be alert for signs and symptoms of aneurysm rupture and thus looks for which of the following?
a) Slow heart rate and high blood pressure
b) Constant, intense back pain and falling blood pressure
c) Constant, intense headache and falling blood pressure
d) Higher than normal blood pressure and falling hematocrit

b) Constant, intense back pain and falling blood pressure
Explanation:
Indications of a rupturing abdominal aortic aneurysm include constant, intense back pain; falling blood pressure; and decreasing hematocrit.

When caring for a client with a diagnosis of aortic aneurysm scheduled for surgery, what would be most important for the nurse to monitor?
a) Level of consciousness, characteristics of pain, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
b) BP, pulse, respirations, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
c) Cultural needs, characteristics of pain, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
d) Intake and output, nutrition level, respirations, and characteristics of pain

a)Level of consciousness, characteristics of pain, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
Explanation:
The nurse monitors BP, pulse, hourly urine output, skin color, level of consciousness, and characteristics of pain for signs of hemorrhage or dissection. Assessing respirations, nutritional levels, and cultural needs are important but not the most important assessments for the nurse to make.

A client with no known history of peripheral vascular disease comes to the emergency department complaining of sudden onset of lower leg pain. Inspection and palpation reveal absent pulses; paresthesia; and a mottled, cyanotic, cold, and cadaverous left calf. While the physician determines the appropriate therapy, the nurse should:
a) elevate the affected leg as high as possible.
b) place a heating pad around the affected calf.
c) keep the affected leg level or slightly dependent.
d) shave the affected leg in anticipation of surgery.

c) keep the affected leg level or slightly dependent.
Explanation:
While the physician makes treatment decisions, the nurse should maintain the client on bed rest, keeping the affected leg level or slightly dependent (to aid circulation) and protecting it from pressure and other trauma. Warming the leg with a heating pad (or chilling it with an ice pack) would further compromise tissue perfusion and increase injury to the leg. Elevating the leg would worsen tissue ischemia. Shaving an ischemic leg could cause accidental trauma from cuts or nicks.

A client complains of leg pain brought on by walking several blocks — a symptom that first arose several weeks earlier. The client's history includes diabetes mellitus and a two-pack-per-day cigarette habit for the past 42 years. The physician diagnoses intermittent claudication and orders pentoxifylline (Trental), 400 mg three times daily with meals. Which instruction concerning long-term care should the nurse provide?
a) "Reduce your level of exercise."
b) "See the physician if complications occur."
c) "Practice meticulous foot care."
d) "Consider cutting down on your smoking."

c) "Practice meticulous foot care."
Explanation:
Intermittent claudication and other chronic peripheral vascular diseases reduce oxygenation to the feet, making them susceptible to injury and poor healing. Therefore, meticulous foot care is essential. The nurse should teach the client to bathe his feet in warm water and dry them thoroughly, cut the toenails straight across, wear well-fitting shoes, and avoid taking medications without the approval of a physician. Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, this client should stop smoking, not just consider cutting down. Daily walking is beneficial to clients with intermittent claudication. To evaluate the effectiveness of the therapeutic regimen, this client should see the physician regularly, not just when complications occur.

A physician admits a client to the health care facility for treatment of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. When planning this client's care, which goal should the nurse keep in mind as she formulates interventions?
a) Increasing blood pressure and monitoring fluid intake and output
b) Decreasing blood pressure and increasing mobility
c) Stabilizing heart rate and blood pressure and easing anxiety
d) Increasing blood pressure and reducing mobility

c) Stabilizing heart rate and blood pressure and easing anxiety
Explanation:
For a client with an aneurysm, nursing interventions focus on preventing aneurysm rupture by stabilizing heart rate and blood pressure. Easing anxiety also is important because anxiety and increased stimulation may raise the heart rate and boost blood pressure, precipitating aneurysm rupture. The client with an abdominal aortic aneurysm is typically hypertensive, so the nurse should take measures to lower blood pressure, such as administering antihypertensive agents, as ordered, to prevent aneurysm rupture. To sustain major organ perfusion, the client should maintain a mean arterial pressure of at least 60 mm Hg. Although the nurse must assess each client's mobility individually, most clients need bed rest when initially attempting to gain stability.

Which of the following is the most common site for a dissecting aneurysm?
a) Cervical area
b) Sacral area
c) Thoracic area
d) Lumbar area

c) Thoracic area
Explanation:
The thoracic area is the most common site for a dissecting aneurysm. About one-third of patients with thoracic aneurysms die of rupture of the aneurysm.

Which of the following is the hallmark symptom for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the lower extremity?
a) Vertigo
b) Dizziness
c) Acute limb ischemia
d) Intermittent claudication

d) Intermittent claudication
Explanation:
The hallmark symptom of PAD in the lower extremity is intermittent claudication. This pain may be described as aching or cramping in a muscle that occurs with the same degree of exercise or activity and is relieved with rest. Acute limb ischemia is a sudden decrease in limb perfusion, which produces new or worsening symptoms that may threaten limb viability. Dizziness and vertigo are associated with upper extremity arterial occlusive disease.

Which sign or symptom suggests that a client's abdominal aortic aneurysm is extending?
a) Elevated blood pressure and rapid respirations
b) Decreased pulse rate and blood pressure
c) Increased abdominal and back pain
d) Retrosternal back pain radiating to the left arm

c) Increased abdominal and back pain
Explanation:
Pain in the abdomen and back signify that the aneurysm is pressing downward on the lumbar nerve root and is causing more pain. The pulse rate would increase with aneurysm extension. Chest pain radiating down the arm would indicate myocardial infarction. Blood pressure would decrease with aneurysm extension, and the respiratory rate may not be affected.

In a patient with a bypass graft, the distal outflow vessel must be at least what percentage patent for the graft to remain patent?
a) 40
b) 30
c) 50
d) 20

c) 50
Explanation: The distal outflow vessel must be at least 50% patent for the graft to remain patent.

When teaching a client with peripheral vascular disease about foot care, a nurse should include which instruction?
a) Avoid using cornstarch on the feet.
b) Avoid using a nail clipper to cut toenails.
c) Avoid wearing canvas shoes.
d) Avoid wearing cotton socks.

c) Avoid wearing canvas shoes.
Explanation:
The client should be instructed to avoid wearing canvas shoes. Canvas shoes cause the feet to perspire, and perspiration can cause skin irritation and breakdown. Cotton and cornstarch absorb perspiration. The client should be instructed to cut toenails straight across with nail clippers.

A female client is readmitted to the facility with a warm, tender, reddened area on her right calf. Which contributing factor should the nurse recognize as most important?
a) An active daily walking program
b) A history of diabetes mellitus
c) History of increased aspirin use
d) Recent pelvic surgery

d) Recent pelvic surgery
Explanation:
The client shows signs of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The pelvic area has a rich blood supply, and thrombophlebitis of the deep veins is associated with pelvic surgery. Aspirin, an antiplatelet agent, and an active walking program help decrease the client's risk of DVT. In general, diabetes mellitus is a contributing factor associated with peripheral vascular disease.

A client with no known history of peripheral vascular disease comes to the emergency department complaining of sudden onset of lower leg pain. Inspection and palpation reveal absent pulses; paresthesia; and a mottled, cyanotic, cold, and cadaverous left calf. While the physician determines the appropriate therapy, the nurse should:
a) place a heating pad around the affected calf.
b) elevate the affected leg as high as possible.
c) shave the affected leg in anticipation of surgery.
d) keep the affected leg level or slightly dependent.

d) keep the affected leg level or slightly dependent.
Explanation:
While the physician makes treatment decisions, the nurse should maintain the client on bed rest, keeping the affected leg level or slightly dependent (to aid circulation) and protecting it from pressure and other trauma. Warming the leg with a heating pad (or chilling it with an ice pack) would further compromise tissue perfusion and increase injury to the leg. Elevating the leg would worsen tissue ischemia. Shaving an ischemic leg could cause accidental trauma from cuts or nicks.

When caring for a client with a diagnosis of aortic aneurysm scheduled for surgery, what would be most important for the nurse to monitor?
a) Level of consciousness, characteristics of pain, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
b) Intake and output, nutrition level, respirations, and characteristics of pain
c) Cultural needs, characteristics of pain, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
d) BP, pulse, respirations, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection

a) Level of consciousness, characteristics of pain, and signs of hemorrhage or dissection
Explanation:
The nurse monitors BP, pulse, hourly urine output, skin color, level of consciousness, and characteristics of pain for signs of hemorrhage or dissection. Assessing respirations, nutritional levels, and cultural needs are important but not the most important assessments for the nurse to make.

When the patient diagnosed with angina pectoris complains that he is experiencing chest pain more frequently even at rest, the period of pain is longer, and it takes less stress for the pain to occur, the nurse recognizes that the patient is describing which type of angina?
a) Variant
b) Refractory
c) Intractable
d) Unstable

d) Unstable
Explanation:
Unstable angina is also called crescendo or preinfarction angina and indicates the need for a change in treatment. Intractable or refractory angina produces severe, incapacitating chest pain that does not respond to conventional treatment. Variant angina is described as pain at rest with reversible ST-segment elevation and is thought to be caused by coronary artery vasospasm. Intractable or refractory angina produces severe, incapacitating chest pain that does not respond to conventional treatment.

The patient has had biomarkers drawn after complaining of chest pain. Which diagnostic of myocardial infarction remains elevated for as long as 3 weeks?
a) Total CK
b) Myoglobin
c) Troponin
d) CK-MB

b) Troponin
Explanation:
Troponin remains elevated for a long period, often as long as 3 weeks, and it therefore can be used to detect recent myocardial damage. Myoglobin returns to normal in 12 hours. Total CK returns to normal in 3 days. CK-MB returns to normal in 3 to 4 days

A client has a blockage in the proximal portion of a coronary artery. After learning about treatment options, the client decides to undergo percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). During this procedure, the nurse expects to administer an:
a) anticonvulsant.
b) antihypertensive.
c) anticoagulant.
d) antibiotic.

a) anticoagulant.
Explanation:
During PTCA, the client receives heparin, an anticoagulant, as well as calcium agonists, nitrates, or both, to reduce coronary artery spasm. Nurses don't routinely give antibiotics during this procedure; however, because the procedure is invasive, the client may receive prophylactic antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. An antihypertensive may cause hypotension, which should be avoided during the procedure. An anticonvulsant isn't indicated because this procedure doesn't increase the risk of seizures.

A nurse is caring for a client who is exhibiting signs and symptoms characteristic of a myocardial infarction (MI). Which statement describes priorities the nurse should establish while performing the physical assessment?
a) Assess the client's level of pain and administer prescribed analgesics.
b) Ensure that the client's family is kept informed of his status.
c) Prepare the client for pulmonary artery catheterization.
d) Assess the client's level of anxiety and provide emotional support.

a) Assess the client's level of pain and administer prescribed analgesics.
Explanation:
The cardinal symptom of MI is persistent, crushing substernal pain or pressure. The nurse should first assess the client's pain and prepare to administer nitroglycerin or morphine for pain control. The client must be medically stabilized before pulmonary artery catheterization can be used as a diagnostic procedure. Anxiety and a feeling of impending doom are characteristic of MI, but the priority is to stabilize the client medically. Although the client and his family should be kept informed at every step of the recovery process, this action isn't the priority when treating a client with a suspected MI.

A nurse should be prepared to manage complications following abdominal aortic aneurysm resection. Which complication is most common?
a) Renal failure
b) Graft occlusion
c) Hemorrhage and shock
d) Enteric fistula

a) Renal failure
Explanation:
Renal failure commonly occurs if clamping time is prolonged, cutting off the blood supply to the kidneys. Hemorrhage and shock are the most common complications before abdominal aortic aneurysm resection, and they occur if the aneurysm leaks or ruptures. Graft occlusion and enteric fistula formation are rare complications of abdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

A home health nurse is teaching a client with peripheral arterial disease ways to improve circulation to the lower extremities. The nurse encourages which of the following in teaching?
a) Elevation of the legs above the heart
b) Keeping the legs in a neutral or dependent position
c) Application of ace wraps from the toe to below the knees
d) Use of antiembolytic stockings

b) Keeping the legs in a neutral or dependent position
Explanation:
Keeping the legs in a neutral or dependent position assists in delivery of arterial blood from the heart to the lower extremities. All the other choices will aid in venous return, but will hinder arterial supply to the lower extremities.

Postpericardiotomy syndrome may occur in patients who undergo cardiac surgery. The nurse should be alert to which of the following clinical manifestations associated with this syndrome?
a) Decreased white blood cell (WBC) count
b) Pericardial friction rub
c) Decreased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
d) Hypothermia

b) Pericardial friction rub
Explanation:
The syndrome is characterized by fever, pericardial pain, pleural pain, dyspnea, pericardial effusion, pericardial friction rub, and arthralgia. Leukocytosis (elevated WBCs) occurs, along with elevation of the ESR.

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