D.R. is a 27-year-old man, who presents to the nurse practitioner at the Family Care Clinic complaining of increasing SOB, wheezing, fatigue, cough, stuffy nose, watery eyes, and postnasal drainage—all of which began four days ago. Three days ago, he began monitoring his peak flow rates several times a day. His peak flow rates have ranged from 65-70% of his regular baseline with nighttime symptoms for 3 nights in the last week and often have been at the lower limit of that range in the morning. Three days ago, he also began to self-treat with frequent albuterol nebulizer therapy. He reports that usually, his albuterol inhaler provides him with relief from his asthma symptoms, but this is no longer enough treatment for this asthmatic episode.
Case Study 1 Questions:
- According to the case study information, how would you classify the severity of D.R.’s asthma attack?
- Name the most common triggers for asthma in any given patient and specify in your answer which ones you consider applied to D.R. in the case study.
- Based on your knowledge and your research, please explain the factors that might be the etiology of D.R. being an asthmatic patient.
Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Homeostasis:
Ms. Brown is a 70-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes mellitus who has been too ill to get out of bed for 2 days. She has had a severe cough and has been unable to eat or drink during this time. On admission, her laboratory values show the following:
- Serum glucose 412 mg/dL
- Serum sodium (Na+) 156 mEq/L
- Serum potassium (K+) 5.6 mEq/L
- Serum chloride (Cl–) 115 mEq/L
- Arterial blood gases (ABGs): pH 7.30; PaCO2 32 mmHg; PaO2 70 mmHg; HCO3– 20 mEq/L
Case Study 2 Questions:
- Based on Ms. Brown admission’s laboratory values, could you determine what type of water and electrolyte imbalance she has? Name all of them based on the lab results and clinical presentation.
- Describe the signs and symptoms of the different types of water imbalance, and describe the clinical manifestation she might exhibit with the potassium level she has.
- In the specific case presented which would be the most appropriate treatment for Ms. Brown and why? Include both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches.
- What do the ABGs from Ms. Brown indicate regarding her acid-base imbalance?
- Based on your readings and your research define and describe Anion Gaps and their clinical significance.
How to solve
St Thomas University Family Care Clinic Case Study
In this assignment, we will analyze two case studies from different medical domains. The first case study focuses on an individual with asthma exacerbation, while the second one explores a patient with water and electrolyte imbalances. By answering the provided questions, we will evaluate our understanding of the conditions, their severity, triggers, etiology, clinical manifestations, treatment approaches, and acid-base imbalances. Let’s begin!
Answer to Case Study 1 Questions:
1. According to the case study information, how would you classify the severity of D.R.’s asthma attack?
Based on the given symptoms, D.R.’s asthma attack can be classified as moderate persistent asthma. This classification is determined by the presence of symptoms more than twice a week, including nighttime symptoms, and peak flow rates ranging between 60-80% of the patient’s personal best.
2. Name the most common triggers for asthma in any given patient and specify in your answer which ones you consider applied to D.R. in the case study.
The most common triggers for asthma include allergens (e.g., pollen, dust mites, animal dander), irritants (e.g., cigarette smoke, air pollution), respiratory infections, physical activity, stress, and certain medications (e.g., aspirin, beta-blockers).
In D.R.’s case, the triggers that can be inferred from the case study are respiratory infection (as mentioned by the onset of symptoms), and potential exposure to irritants/allergens, given his symptoms of watery eyes, cough, and nasal congestion.
3. Based on your knowledge and your research, please explain the factors that might be the etiology of D.R. being an asthmatic patient.
The etiology of asthma is multifactorial, involving both genetic and environmental factors. Genetic predisposition plays a significant role, with a family history of asthma increasing the risk of developing the condition. Environmental factors such as exposure to allergens, pollutants, respiratory infections, and tobacco smoke also contribute to the development and exacerbation of asthma.
Additionally, other risk factors include early childhood viral infections, low birth weight, obesity, and certain occupational exposures. These factors can result in chronic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness, leading to the clinical manifestations of asthma.
Answer to Case Study 2 Questions:
1. Based on Ms. Brown’s admission laboratory values, could you determine what type of water and electrolyte imbalance she has? Name all of them based on the lab results and clinical presentation.
The laboratory values and clinical presentation suggest that Ms. Brown is experiencing hyperglycemia (elevated serum glucose level) and hypernatremia (elevated serum sodium level). The severe coughing and inability to eat or drink might have contributed to dehydration and loss of fluids.
2. Describe the signs and symptoms of the different types of water imbalance and describe the clinical manifestation she might exhibit with the potassium level she has.
Water imbalances can manifest as hypernatremia (thirst, dry mucous membranes, decreased urine output) or hyponatremia (weakness, fatigue, nausea, confusion, seizures). In Ms. Brown’s case, hypernatremia might lead to increased thirst, dry mouth, and reduced urine output.
With the elevated potassium level (hyperkalemia), she might experience muscle weakness, fatigue, palpitations, and even cardiac arrhythmias.
3. In the specific case presented, which would be the most appropriate treatment for Ms. Brown and why? Include both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches.
The appropriate treatment for Ms. Brown would involve both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches. Non-pharmacologic measures would include rehydration through intravenous fluids to restore fluid balance. Additionally, addressing the underlying illness causing the cough and providing respiratory support would be essential.
Pharmacologic approaches may involve the use of antidiabetic medications to manage her hyperglycemia. Moreover, diuretic medication could be considered to treat her hypernatremia and improve fluid balance. The specific choice of medications would depend on individual patient characteristics and physician assessment.
4. What do the ABGs from Ms. Brown indicate regarding her acid-base imbalance?
The arterial blood gas (ABG) values provided indicate that Ms. Brown is experiencing metabolic acidosis, which is evident from the low serum bicarbonate level (HCO3-). The pH value of 7.30 is lower than the normal range (7.35-7.45) and indicates acidemia.
5. Based on your readings and research, define and describe anion gaps and their clinical significance.
Anion gap refers to the difference between measured cations (sodium and potassium) and anions (chloride and bicarbonate) in the serum. It is calculated using the formula: Anion Gap = Sodium (Na+) – Chloride (Cl-) – Bicarbonate (HCO3-).
Clinically significant increases in the anion gap can suggest the presence of a primary metabolic acidosis. It is an important parameter used to evaluate the cause and severity of acid-base imbalances. An increased anion gap can be indicative of conditions such as diabetic ketoacidosis, lactic acidosis, renal failure, or ingestion of certain toxins.
The understanding and interpretation of the anion gap is crucial in diagnosing and managing patients with acid-base disorders.
In this assignment, we have analyzed two case studies involving asthma exacerbation and water-electrolyte imbalances. Through our responses, we have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the severity classification, triggers, etiology, manifestations, and treatment approaches for these medical conditions. Additionally, we have discussed the interpretation of ABG values and the clinical significance of anion gaps. By further exploring these areas, we can enhance our knowledge and competence in managing similar patient scenarios as medical professionals.