At what point after a burn injury should the nurse be most alert for the complication of hypokalemia?
Hypokalemia is most likely to occur during the fluid remobilization period as a result of dilution, potassium movement back into the cells, and increased potassium excreted into the urine with the greatly increased urine output.
What clinical manifestation should alert the nurse to possible carbon monoxide poisoning in a client who experienced a burn injury during a house fire?
The saturation of hemoglobin molecules with carbon monoxide and the subsequent vasodilation induces a “cherry red” color of the mucous membranes in these clients. The other manifestations are associated with inhalation injury, but not specifically carbon monoxide poisoning.
The burned client is ordered to receive intravenous cimetidine, an H2 histamine blocking agent, during the emergent phase. When the client’s family asks why this drug is being given, what is the nurse’s best response?
Ulcerative gastrointestinal disease may develop within 24 hours after a severe burn as a result of increased hydrochloric acid production and decreased mucosal barrier. Cimetidine inhibits the production and release of hydrochloric acid.
The burned client newly arrived from an accident scene is prescribed to receive 4 mg of morphine sulfate by IV push. What is the most important reason to administer the opioid analgesic to this client by the intravenous route?
Although providing some pain relief has a high priority, and giving the drug by the IV route instead of IM, SC, or orally does increase the rate of effect, the most important reason is to prevent an overdose from accumulation of drug in the interstitial space during the fluid shift of the emergent phase. When edema is present, cumulative doses are rapidly absorbed when the fluid shift is resolving. This delayed absorption can result in lethal blood levels of analgesics.
What clinical manifestation indicates that an escharotomy is needed on a circumferential extremity burn?
Circumferential eschar can act as a tourniquet when edema forms from the fluid shift, increasing tissue pressure and preventing blood flow to the distal extremities and increasing the risk for tissue necrosis. This problem is an emergency and, without intervention, can lead to loss of the distal limb. This problem can be reduced or corrected with an escharotomy.
What additional laboratory test should be performed on any African American client who sustains a serious burn injury?
Sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait are more common among African Americans. Although clients with sickle cell disease usually know their status, the client with sickle cell trait may not. The fluid, circulatory, and respiratory alterations that occur in the emergent phase of a burn injury could result in decreased tissue perfusion that is sufficient to cause sickling of cells, even in a person who only has the trait. Determining the client’s sickle cell status by checking the percentage of hemoglobin S is essential for any African American client who has a burn injury.
Which client factors should alert the nurse to potential increased complications with a burn injury?
Burns of the perineum increases the risk for sepsis. Burns of the hands require special attention to ensure the best functional outcome.
Which vitamin deficiency is most likely to be a long-term consequence of a full-thickness burn injury?
Skin exposed to sunlight activates vitamin D. Partial-thickness burns reduce the activation of vitamin D. Activation of vitamin D is lost completely in full-thickness burns.
The newly admitted client has a large burned area on the right arm. The burned area appears red, has blisters, and is very painful. How should this injury be categorized?
The characteristics of the wound meet the criteria for a superficial partial-thickness injury (colour that is pink or red; blisters; pain present and high).
The newly admitted client has burns on both legs. The burned areas appear white and leather-like. No blisters or bleeding are present, and the client states that he or she has little pain. How should this injury be categorized?
The characteristics of the wound meet the criteria for a full-thickness injury (color that is black, brown, yellow, white, or red; no blisters; pain minimal; outer layer firm and inelastic).
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