1. A. The nurse should first attempt nursing interventions, such as repositioning the client to avoid neck flexion, which increases venous return and lowers ICP. If nursing measures prove ineffective, notify the physician, who may prescribe mannitol, pentobarbital, or hyperventilation therapy.
2. B. Dilantin IV shouldn’t be given at a rate exceeding 50 mg/minute. Rapid administration can depress the myocardium, causing arrhythmias. Therapeutic drug levels range from 10 to 20 mg/ml. Dilantin shouldn’t be mixed in solution for administration. However, because it’s compatible with normal saline solution, it can be injected through an IV line containing normal saline. When given through an IV catheter hand, dilantin may cause purple glove syndrome.
3. A. Urine output of 300 ml/hr may indicate diabetes insipidus, which is a failure of the pituitary to produce anti-diuretic hormone. This may occur with increased intracranial pressure and head trauma; the nurse evaluates for low urine specific gravity, increased serum osmolarity, and dehydration. There’s no evidence that the client is experiencing renal failure. Providing emollients to prevent skin breakdown is important, but doesn’t need to be performed immediately. Slowing the rate of IV fluid would contribute to dehydration when polyuria is present.
4. A. A normal PaCO2 value is 35 to 45 mm Hg. CO2 has vasodilating properties; therefore, lowering PaCO2 through hyperventilation will lower ICP caused by dilated cerebral vessels. Oxygenation is evaluated through PaO2 and oxygen saturation. Alveolar hypoventilation would be reflected in an increased PaCO2.
5. B. Frequent swallowing after brain surgery may indicate fluid or blood leaking from the sinuses into the oropharynx. Blood or fluid draining from the ear may indicate a basilar skull fracture.
6. D. After hypophysectomy, or removal of the pituitary gland, the body can’t synthesize ADH. Somatropin or growth hormone, not vasopressin is used to treat growth failure. SIADH results from excessive ADH secretion. Mannitol or corticosteroids are used to decrease cerebral edema.
7. C. All clients with a head injury are treated as if a cervical spine injury is present until x-rays confirm their absence. ROM would be contraindicated at this time. There is no indication that the client needs a chest x-ray. The airway doesn’t need to be opened since the client appears alert and not in respiratory distress. In addition, the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver wouldn’t be used until the cervical spine injury is ruled out.
8. D. Tetraplegia occurs as a result of cervical spine injuries. Paraplegia occurs as a result of injury to the thoracic cord and below.
9. C. After a spinal cord injury, ascending cord edema may cause a higher level of injury. The diaphragm is innervated at the level of C4, so assessment of adequate oxygenation and ventilation is necessary. Although the other options would be necessary at a later time, observation for respiratory failure is the priority.
10. C. Symptoms of neurogenic shock include hypotension, bradycardia, and warm, dry skin due to the loss of adrenergic stimulation below the level of the lesion. Hypertension, bradycardia, flushing, and sweating of the skin are seen with autonomic dysreflexia. Hemorrhagic shock presents with anxiety, tachycardia, and hypotension; this wouldn’t be suspected without an injury. Pulmonary embolism presents with chest pain, hypotension, hypoxemia, tachycardia, and hemoptysis; this may be a later complication of spinal cord injury due to immobility.
11. C. High doses of Solu-Medrol are used within 24 hours of spinal injury to reduce cord swelling and limit neurological deficit. The other drugs aren’t indicated in this circumstance.
12. D. Anxiety, flushing above the level of the lesion, piloerection, hypertension, and bradycardia are symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia, typically caused by such noxious stimuli such as a full bladder, fecal impaction, or decubitus ulcer. Putting the client flat will cause the blood pressure to increase even more. The indwelling urinary catheter should be assessed immediately after the HOB is raised. Nitroglycerin is given to reduce chest pain and reduce preload; it isn’t used for hypertension or dysreflexia.
13. B. Gardner-Wells, Vinke, and Crutchfield tongs immobilize the spine until surgical stabilization is accomplished.
14. B. Intermittent catherization should begin every 2 to 4 hours early in the treatment. When residual volume is less than 400 ml, the schedule may advance to every 4 to 6 hours. Indwelling catheters may predispose the client to infection and are removed as soon as possible. Crede’s maneuver is not used on people with spinal cord injury.
15. A. Epidural hematoma or extradural hematoma is usually caused by laceration of the middle meningeal artery. An embolic stroke is a thromboembolism from a carotid artery that ruptures. Venous bleeding from the arachnoid space is usually observed with subdural hematoma.
16. B. Clear fluid from the nose or ear can be determined to be cerebral spinal fluid or mucous by the presence of dextrose. Placing the client flat in bed may increase ICP and promote pulmonary aspiration. The nose wouldn’t be suctioned because of the risk for suctioning brain tissue through the sinuses. Nothing is inserted into the ears or nose of a client with a skull fracture because of the risk of infection.
17. C. A lucid interval is described as a brief period of unconsciousness followed by alertness; after several hours, the client again loses consciousness. Garbled speech is known as dysarthria. An interval in which the client is alert but can’t recall recent events is known as amnesia. Warning symptoms or auras typically occur before seizures.
18. C. Autonomic dysreflexia refers to uninhibited sympathetic outflow in clients with spinal cord injuries about the level of T10. The other clients aren’t prone to dysreflexia.
19. C. Spasticity, the return of reflexes, is a sign of resolving shock. Spinal or neurogenic shock is characterized by hypotension, bradycardia, dry skin, flaccid paralysis, or the absence of reflexes below the level of injury. The absence of pain sensation in the chest doesn’t apply to spinal shock. Spinal shock descends from the injury, and respiratory difficulties occur at C4 and above.
20. D. Noxious stimuli, such as a full bladder, fecal impaction, or a decub ulcer, may cause autonomic dysreflexia. A headache is a symptom of autonomic dysreflexia, not a cause. Autonomic dysreflexia is most commonly seen with injuries at T10 or above. Neurogenic shock isn’t a cause of dysreflexia.
21. D. Putting the client in the high-Fowler’s position will decrease cerebral blood flow, decreasing hypertension. Elevating the client’s legs, putting the client flat in bed, or putting the bed in the Trendelenburg’s position places the client in positions that improve cerebral blood flow, worsening hypertension.
22. C. Loss of sympathetic control and unopposed vagal stimulation below the level of injury typically cause hypotension, bradycardia, pallor, flaccid paralysis, and warm, dry skin in the client in neurogenic shock. Hypervolemia is indicated by rapid and bounding pulse and edema. Autonomic dysreflexia occurs after neurogenic shock abates. Signs of sepsis would include elevated temperature, increased heart rate, and increased respiratory rate.
23. D. The diaphragm is stimulated by nerves at the level of C4. Initially, this client may need mechanical ventilation due to cord edema. This may resolve in time. Absent corneal reflexes, decerebate posturing, and hemiplegia occur with brain injuries, not spinal cord injuries.
24. B. Hypertension, bradycardia, anxiety, blurred vision, and flushing above the lesion occur with autonomic dysreflexia due to uninhibited sympathetic nervous system discharge. The other options are incorrect.
25. D. Intermittent catherization may be performed chronically with clean technique, using soap and water to clean the urinary meatus. The meatus is always cleaned from front to back in a woman, or in expanding circles working outward from the meatus in a man. It isn’t necessary to measure the urine. The catheter doesn’t need to be rotated during removal.