Initial History and Assessment
At 0600 Jennie is brought to the Labor and Delivery triage area by her sister. The client complains of a pounding headache for the last 12 hours unrelieved by acetaminophen (Tylenol), swollen hands and face for 2 days, and epigastric pain described as bad heartburn. Her sister tells the nurse, "I felt like that when I had toxemia during my pregnancy."
Admission assessment by the nurse reveals: today's weight 182 pounds, T 99.1° F, P 76, R 22, BP 138/88, 4+ pitting edema, and 3+ protein in the urine. Heart rate is regular, and lung sounds are clear. Deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) are 3+ biceps and triceps and 4+ patellar with 1 beat of ankle clonus.
The nurse applies the external fetal monitor, which shows a baseline fetal heart rate of 130, absent variability, positive for accelerations, no decelerations, and no contractions. The nurse also performs a vaginal examination and finds that the cervix is 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced, with the fetal head at a -2 station.
In reviewing Jennie's history, the nurse is correct in concluding that Jennie is in jeopardy of developing a hypertensive disorder due to which risk factors?
To accurately assess this client's condition, what information from the prenatal record is most important for the nurse to obtain?
Pathophysiology of Preeclampsia
There is no definitive cause of preeclampsia, but the pathophysiology is distinct. The main pathogenic factor is poor perfusion as a result of arteriolar vasospasm. Function in organs such as the placenta, liver, brain, and kidneys can be depressed as much as 40 to 60%. As fluid shifts out of the intravascular compartment, a decrease in plasma volume and subsequent increase in hematocrit is seen. The edema of preeclampsia is generalized. Virtually all organ systems are affected by this disease, and the mother and fetus suffer increasing risk as the disease progresses.
Preeclampsia develops after 20 weeks gestation in a previously normotensive woman. Elevated blood pressure is frequently the first sign of preeclampsia. The client also develops proteinuria. While no longer considered a diagnostic measurement of preeclampsia, generalized edema of the face, hands, and abdomen that is not responsive to 12 hours of bedrest is often present. Preeclampsia progresses along a continuum from mild to severe preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, or eclampsia. A client may present to the labor unit anywhere along that continuum.
What is the pathophysiology responsible for Jennie's complaint of a pounding headache and the elevated DTRs?
Jennie's sister is very concerned about the swelling (edema) in her sister's face and hands because it seems to be worsening rapidly. She asks the nurse if the healthcare provider will prescribe some of "those water pills" (diuretics) to help get rid of the excess fluid.
Which response by the nurse is correct?
Admission to the Labor and Delivery Unit
At 0630 the nurse calls to report to the healthcare provider, who prescribes the following: admit to labor and delivery, bed rest with bathroom privileges (BRP), IV D5LR at 125 ml/hr, CBC with platelets, clotting studies, liver enzymes, chemistry panel, 24-hour urine collection for protein and uric acid, ice chips only by mouth, nonstress test, hourly vital signs, and DTRs.
While awaiting the lab results, which nursing intervention has the highest priority?
Which technique is best for the nurse to use when evaluating Jennie's blood pressure while she is on bed rest?
The nurse performs a nonstress test to evaluate fetal well-being.
At 0800, physical assessment and labs reveal the following: the client is still complaining of a headache but the epigastric pain has slightly decreased. While resting in a left lateral position, the vital signs are BP 146/94, P 75, R 18. Hyperreflexia continues with one beat of clonus. The baseline fetal heart rate is 140 with average long-term variability and no...
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