Atrial Fibrillation and Nutrition
CL is an 86 year old white female who was brought into the hospital by her children on 11/4/11. On admission, she was diagnosed with recurring syncope episodes. She said that she gets weak and then just passes out. Other than her fainting spells, she claims to feel an overall sense of health and wellness. Her past medical history includes hypertension, arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation), dementia, diverticulitis, and a cardiovascular accident that occurred five years ago. When I spoke to her doctor, he stated that he believed her arrhythmia played a very large part in her syncope episodes. Upon researching atrial fibrillation we found that the electrical impulses that serve the heart are irregular; the atria contract very quickly and not in a normal pattern. As a result, the ventricles beat abnormally leading to an elevated pulse (Lewis, 826). Put simply, the heart is unable to pump as much blood as the body needs. In CL’s case, the lack of blood to the brain is causing her to faint at times.
Upon meeting the patient, I performed a brief physical. She weighed 175lbs and was 5’5. Her BMI was 29.1 which classified her as overweight. Before I began she informed me that she was very weak and became tired easily so I tried to perform the assessment as quickly but efficiently as I could. I began with her level of consciousness. Although she has been diagnosed with dementia, the patient was able to answer all of my questions without hesitation and perform all of the tasks I asked of her.
As I continued my assessment, I noticed that she was breathing normally with symmetrical chest rise. Her anterior and posterior breath sounds were clear in all lobes with no wheezes, rales, or rhonchi. She reported no cough or pain when breathing but did claim that it was easier for her to breathe if she was lying down rather than standing or sitting up. Her stomach was soft and flat with bowel sounds present in... [continues]
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