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Med-surg Nursing
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GI System Disorders

Peptic Ulcer Disease

A peptic ulcer, also known as PUD or peptic ulcer disease, is the most common ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. It is defined as mucosal erosions equal to or greater than 0.5 cm. As many as 70–90% of such ulcers are associated with Helicobacter pylori, a spiral-shaped bacterium that lives in the acidic environment of the stomach; however, only 40% of those cases go to a doctor. Ulcers can also be caused or worsened by drugs such as aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel), ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs. Contrary to general belief, four times as many peptic ulcers arise in the duodenum—the first part of the small intestine, just after the stomach—rather than in the stomach itself. About 4% of stomach ulcers are caused by a malignant tumor, so multiple biopsies are needed to exclude cancer. Duodenal ulcers are generally benign. By Region/Location Modified Johnson Classification of peptic ulcers: Symptoms of a peptic ulcer can be A...

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease is a chronic symptom of mucosal damage caused by stomach acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus. A typical symptom is heartburn. GERD is usually caused by changes in the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, including abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which normally holds the top of the stomach closed; impaired expulsion of gastric reflux from the esophagus, or a hiatal hernia. These changes may be permanent or temporary ("transient"). Another kind of acid reflux, which causes respiratory and laryngeal signs and symptoms, is called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or "extraesophageal reflux disease" (EERD). Unlike GERD, LPR is unlikely to produce heartburn, and is sometimes called silent reflux. The most-common symptoms of GERD are: Less-common symptoms include: GERD sometimes causes injury of the esophagus. These...


Gastritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, and has many possible causes. The main acute causes are excessive alcohol consumption or prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Sometimes gastritis develops after major surgery, traumatic injury, burns, or severe infections. Gastritis may also occur in those who have had weight loss surgery resulting in the banding or reconstruction of the digestive tract. Chronic causes are infection with bacteria, primarily Helicobacter pylori, chronic bile reflux, stress and certain autoimmune disorders can cause gastritis as well. The most common symptom is abdominal upset or pain. Other symptoms are indigestion, abdominal bloating, nausea, and vomiting and pernicious anemia. Some may have a feeling of fullness or burning in the upper abdomen. A gastroscopy, blood test, complete blood count test, or a stool test may be used to diagnose gastritis. Treatment includes...


Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. It is classified as a medical emergency and many cases require removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy. Untreated, mortality is high, mainly because of the risk of rupture leading to peritonitis and shock. Reginald Fitz first described acute and chronic appendicitis in 1886, and it has been recognized as one of the most common causes of severe acute abdominal pain worldwide. A correctly diagnosed non-acute form of appendicitis is known as "rumbling appendicitis". The term "pseudoappendicitis" is used to describe a condition mimicking appendicitis. It can be associated with Yersinia enterocolitica. Pain first, vomiting next and fever last has been described as the classic presentation of acute appendicitis. Pain starts mid-abdomen, and except in children below 3 years, tends to localize in the right iliac fossa in a few hours. This pain can be elicited through various signs and...


Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed. Patients often present with the classic triad of left lower quadrant pain, fever, and leukocytosis (an elevation of the white cell count in blood tests). Patients may also complain of nausea or diarrhea; others may be constipated. Less commonly, an individual with diverticulitis may present with right-sided abdominal pain. This may be due to the less prevalent right-sided diverticula or a very redundant sigmoid colon. The most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain. The most common sign is tenderness around the left side of the lower abdomen. If infection is the cause, then nausea, vomiting, fever, cramping, and constipation may occur as well. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent...

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In medicine, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The main forms of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Accounting for far fewer cases are other forms of IBD, which are not always classified as typical IBD: The main difference between Crohn's disease and UC is the location and nature of the inflammatory changes. Crohn's can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus (skip lesions), although a majority of the cases start in the terminal ileum. Ulcerative colitis, in contrast, is restricted to the colon and the rectum. Microscopically, ulcerative colitis is restricted to the mucosa (epithelial lining of the gut), while Crohn's disease affects the whole bowel wall ("transmural lesions"). Finally, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis present with extra-intestinal manifestations (such as liver problems,...

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis (Colitis ulcerosa, UC) is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis is a form of colitis, a disease of the colon (large intestine), that includes characteristic ulcers, or open sores. The main symptom of active disease is usually constant diarrhea mixed with blood, of gradual onset. IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a troublesome, but much less serious, condition. Ulcerative colitis has similarities to Crohn's disease, another form of IBD. Ulcerative colitis is an intermittent disease, with periods of exacerbated symptoms, and periods that are relatively symptom-free. Although the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can sometimes diminish on their own, the disease usually requires treatment to go into remission. Ulcerative colitis occurs in 35–100 people for every 100,000 in the United States, or less than 0.1% of the population. The disease is more prevalent in northern countries of the world, as well as in northern areas...

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease, also known as regional enteritis, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is at its worst), vomiting (can be continuous), or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, tiredness, and lack of concentration. Crohn's disease is caused by interactions between environmental, immunological and bacterial factors in genetically susceptible individuals. This results in a chronic inflammatory disorder, in which the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract possibly directed at a microbial antigens. Crohn's disease has traditionally been described as an autoimmune disease, but recent investigators have described it as a disease of immune deficiency. There is a genetic association...

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is a cancer caused by uncontrolled cell growth (neoplasia), in the colon, rectum, or vermiform appendix. Colorectal cancer is clinically distinct from anal cancer, which affects the anus. Colorectal cancers start in the lining of the bowel. If left untreated, it can grow into the muscle layers underneath, and then through the bowel wall. Most begin as a small growth on the bowel wall: a colorectal polyp or adenoma. These mushroom-shaped growths are usually benign, but some develop into cancer over time. Localized bowel cancer is usually diagnosed through colonoscopy. Invasive cancers that are confined within the wall of the colon (T stages I and II) are often curable with surgery, For example, in England over 90% of patients diagnosed at this stage will survive the disease beyond 5 years. However, if left untreated, the cancer can spread to regional lymph nodes (stage III). In England, around 48% of patients diagnosed at this stage...


Jaundice (also known as icterus; attributive adjective: icteric) is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, the conjunctival membranes over the sclerae (whites of the eyes), and other mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia (increased levels of bilirubin in the blood). This hyperbilirubinemia subsequently causes increased levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluid. Concentration of bilirubin in blood plasma does not normally exceed 1 mg/dL (>17µmol/L). A concentration higher than 1.8 mg/dL (>30µmol/|L) leads to jaundice. The term jaundice comes from the French word jaune, meaning yellow. Jaundice is often seen in liver disease such as hepatitis or liver cancer. It may also indicate obstruction of the biliary tract, for example by gallstones or pancreatic cancer, or less commonly be congenital in origin. The conjunctiva of the eye are one of the first tissues to change color as bilirubin levels rise in jaundice. This is sometimes referred to as scleral icterus. However, the...


A gallstone is a crystalline concretion formed within the gallbladder by accretion of bile components. These calculi are formed in the gallbladder, but may pass distally into other parts of the biliary tract such as the cystic duct, common bile duct, pancreatic duct, or the ampulla of Vater. Presence of gallstones in the gallbladder may lead to acute cholecystitis, an inflammatory condition characterized by retention of bile in the gallbladder and often secondary infection by intestinal microorganisms, predominantly Escherichia coli and Bacteroides species. Presence of gallstones in other parts of the biliary tract can cause obstruction of the bile ducts, which can lead to serious conditions such as ascending cholangitis or pancreatitis. Either of these two conditions can be life-threatening, and are therefore considered to be medical emergencies. Presence of stones in the gallbladder is referred to as cholelithiasis (from the Greek: chol-, "bile" + lith-, "stone" + iasis-,...


Hepatitis (plural hepatitides) is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. The name is from the Greek hepar (ἧπαρ), the root being hepat- (ἡπατ-), meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning "inflammation" (c. 1727). The condition can be self-limiting (healing on its own) or can progress to fibrosis (scarring) and cirrhosis. Hepatitis may occur with limited or no symptoms, but often leads to jaundice, anorexia (poor appetite) and malaise. Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months and chronic when it persists longer. A group of viruses known as the hepatitis viruses cause most cases of hepatitis worldwide, but it can also be due to toxins (notably alcohol, certain medications, some industrial organic solvents and plants), other infections and autoimmune diseases. Initial features are of nonspecific flu-like symptoms, common to almost all acute viral infections and may...


Cirrhosis (pronounced /sɪˈroʊsɪs/) is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules (lumps that occur as a result of a process in which damaged tissue is regenerated), leading to loss of liver function. Cirrhosis is most commonly caused by alcoholism, hepatitis B and C, and fatty liver disease, but has many other possible causes. Some cases are idiopathic, i.e., of unknown cause. Ascites (fluid retention in the abdominal cavity) is the most common complication of cirrhosis, and is associated with a poor quality of life, increased risk of infection, and a poor long-term outcome. Other potentially life-threatening complications are hepatic encephalopathy (confusion and coma) and bleeding from esophageal varices. Cirrhosis is generally irreversible, and treatment usually focuses on preventing progression and complications. In advanced stages of cirrhosis the only option is a liver transplant. The...


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It occurs when pancreatic enzymes (especially trypsin) that digest food are activated in the pancreas instead of the small intestine. It may be acute – beginning suddenly and lasting a few days, or chronic – occurring over many years. It has multiple causes and symptoms. The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are severe upper abdominal pain radiating to the back, nausea, and vomiting that is worsened with eating. The physical exam will vary depending on severity and presence of internal bleeding. Blood pressure may be elevated by pain or decreased by dehydration or bleeding. Heart and respiratory rates are often elevated. The abdomen is usually tender but to a lesser degree than the pain itself. As is common in abdominal disease, bowel sounds may be reduced from reflex bowel paralysis. Fever or jaundice may be present. Chronic pancreatitis can lead to diabetes or pancreatic cancer. Unexplained weight loss may occur from a lack of...

Drugs That Affect the Nervous System

Central Nervous System

DEPRESSANTS, Analgesics - Opioids, Opioid Antagonists, Nonopioids, Sedatives, Hypnotics, Anxiolytic Agents, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, NonBenzodiazepines, Antiseizure Agents, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Hydantoins, Carbamazepines, Valproic Acid, Anti-Parkinson Drugs, Dopaminergics, Anticholinergics, Skeletal Muscle Relaxants

Psychotropic Drugs, Antidepressants, Mood Stabilizers, Antipsychotics

Anaesthetics, Locally Acting, General (Systemic), Neuromuscular Blocking Agents

Stimulants, Amphetamines

Autonomic Nervous System

SYMPATHETIC DIVISION, Adrenergics, Antiadrenergics or Adrenergic Blocking Agents

PARASYMPATHETIC DIVISION, Cholinergics, Anticholinergics

Drugs That Affect the Cardiovascular System


Platelet Count - 150 000 - 400 000 Hemoglobin (Hgb) - Male: 8.7 - 11.2    Female: 7.4 - 9.9 Hematocrit - Male: 40 - 53%    Female: 38 - 47% Prothrombin time (PT): 11 - 12. 5 s Partial thromboplastin time (PTT): 60 - 70s Activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT): 30 - 40 s International normalized ratio (INR): 0.81 - 1.2   Protamine sulphate - Used in the case of a Heparin overdose Phytonadione (AquaMEPHYTON, vitamin K) - used for a Warfarin overdose Aminocaproic acid (Amicar) & Tranexamic acid (Cyclokapeon) - used for Thrombolytic overdose

Anticoagulants, Heparin, Warfarin, Antiplatelet Drugs








Agents used to treat heart failure: Vasodilators: decrease the workload of the heart; include ACE inhibitors, nitrates, and angiotensin II receptor blockers Diuretics: increase urine output and decrease sodium levels in the body Beta Adrenergic Agonsists: Stimulate sympathetic nervous system activity to increase calcium flow into the cardiac muscle, resulting in increased contractility Cardiotonic (Inotropic) drugs Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors (PDIs):

Cardiotonics (Inotropics)


Anti-Angina Pectoris Drugs

Drugs That Affect the Gastrointestinal System

Four disorders of the GI system in which drugs are frequently prescribed: - constipation - diarrhea - hyperacidity - nausea and vomiting


Used to speed the passage of intestinal contents through the GI tract. May be admin to prevent or relieve constipation, to prepare a client for a lower GI tract procedure, to reduce the strain of defecation in clients with cardiovascular disease or hemorrhoids, to remove ingested toxic substances, or as treatment for parasitic infestation. Adverse effects: - diarrhea - abdominal cramps - flatulence - tolerance - bowel impaction or obstruction (with bulk-forming preparations) - electrolyte imbalances (with saline laxatives)  

Bulk Forming





The type of drug prescribed depends on the cause and severity of the diarrhea Adverse effects: - Constipation - Nausea and vomiting - Dependency - Sedation, drowsiness, weakness, lethargy (with opioids) - Urinary retention (with atropine preparations and opioids) - Clotting disorders (with bismuth preparations) - Allergic reactions


Bulk Forming




Used for the treatment of conditions such as mild gastritis, GERD, peptic ulcer disease and hypersecretion disorders Adverse Effects: - Contraindicated in severe renal failure and GI obstruction - Contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation; crosses barriers to infants    

Neutralizing Agents

H2 Receptor Antagonists

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Muscosal Protective Agents






Serotonin Blockers


Drugs That Affect the Respiratory System


For the treatment of cough Dry coughs treated with antitussives Antitussives decrease the intensity and frequency of the cough without obstructing the elimination of tracheobronchial phlegm. Antitussives are commony given in combination with expectorants to prevent the congestion of respiratory secretions within the lungs  




Productive coughs are treated with expectorants Expectorants liquefy mucus Guaifenesin (Robitussin, Benylin E) Potassium Iodide Adverse effects: - Minimal adverse effects - Nausea and vomiting - GI irritation - Iodism (potassium iodide)  


relieve upper airway congestiond, primarily nasal which i scaused by swollen mucous membranes. Adverse effects (sympathomimetics): - headache - nervousness - dry mouth - palpitations - increased BP - urinary retention Adverse effects (corticosteroids): - nasal irritation - nasal itchimess - dry mouth - oral fungal infections - cough Nursing considerations: - Use cautiously in clients who have hypertension, glaucoma, or cardiac disease

Common Sympathomimetics



Reduce the stickiness and viscosity of pulmonary secretions - Action focuses directly on the thick, mucus plugs to liquefy and dissolve them, thereby promoting removal of the secretions by ciliary action, suction, postural drainage and coughing - Prescribed for treatment of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, and pneumonia Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst), Dornase Alfa Adverse Effects: - Drowsiness - Rhinorrhea - Bronchospasm - Nausea and vomiting


Oppose the action of histamine at the H1 receptor sites, which leads to a decrease in capillary permeability, the relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle, and reduced secretions - resulting in more open passageways, reduced swelling and improved air entry. First Generation: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Tripolon), Promethazine (Phenergan) Second Generation: Loratadine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra) Adverse effects: - drowsiness - known drug allergies - dry mouth - urinary retention - dizziness, weakness, feeling faint - constipation or diarrhea - cardiac dysrhythmias, palpitations - visual disturbances


Anti-inflammatory action - supressing airway inflammation, reducing swelling within the bronchioles, decreasing mucous production, resulting in less airway obstruction inhibits the production of histamine, results in reduced capillary permeability and decreased production of tissue chemicals that cause inflammation - leads to suppressionn of the movement of protein, fluid, and blood cells to interstitial spaces, also reducing swelling and inflammation. Facilitate the action of beta 2 adrenergic agonists by increasing the sensitivity of their adrenergic receptors *Not generally effective in relieving acute episodes - requires several hours to produce desirable effects * Butesonide (Pulmicort), Fluticasone (Flovent), Hydrocortisone (Solu-Cortef), Prednisone Adverse effects: - gastric irritation - hypertension - dry mouth - cough - oral fungal infections - adrenal failure at high doses - fluid retention   Nursing considerations: - Have clients rinse their mouths to prevent development of infections - Shake inhaler prior to admin - Caution against prolonged use and abrupt stoppage


Treatment of airway obstructive diseases such as asthma - relax tracheobronchial tree, causing dilation of bronchioles and alveolar ducts, thereby decreasing the resistance to airflow. Inhalers: small dose of medication into the lungs when discharged Nebulizers: devices pump compressed air through a solution of the drug, producing a fine mist that can be inhaled through a face mask. Used to prevent and treat asthma. Some bronchodilators may be used in combination with corticosteroids for added and more prolonged effects.

Beta Adrenergics


Xanthine Derivatives

Leukotriene Modifiers

Mast Cell Stabilizers

Antimicrobial Agents

Treat pathogenic organisms capable of infecting the body; bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, complex multicellular organisms   Nursing Considerations: - Culture and Sensitivity (C&S) prior to initiation - Monitor for development of superinfections


Antibiotics Strains resistant to antibiotic therapy: - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) - Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing E scherichia coli (ESBL) - Oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ORSA)









Inhibit the entry of the virus into the host cell or by acting on the virus once it has entered the cell Most commonly inhibit the virus from replicating and with the assistance of the body's normal immune system, destruction can then occur DNA-containing viruses - antiviral agents RNA-containing viruses - antiretroviral agents Commonly Used Antiviral Agents: Acylovir (Zovirax) Herpes zoster, genital herpes Amantadine (Symmetrel) Influenza virus Famiciclovir (Famvir) Herpes zoster, genital herpes Valganciclovir (Valcyte) Cytomegalovirus Lapinovir (Combivir) Prophylaxis (PEP) Ritonavir (Kaletra) Prophylasix (PEP)   Commonly Used Antiretroviral Agents: Zidovudine (Retrovir) HIV infections Tenofovir (Viread) HIV infections


Tuberculosis is caused by Myobacterium tuberculosis an aerobic bacterium requiring high concentrations of oxygen in order to survive and replicate First line agents: Isoniazid (Isotamine), Ethambutol (Etibi), Rifampin (Rofact), Streptomycin (Streptocin)   Second line agents: Amikacin (Amikin), Levofloxacin (Levaquin) *liver damage can result from longterm therapy


Treatment of pathogenic fungal diseases Amphotericin B (Fungizone) Used to treat systemic infections Nystatin (Mycostatin) Used to treat candidiasis of skin and mucous membranes Tolnafate (Tinactin) Used to treat cutaneous mycosis Terbinafine hydrocholride (Lamisil) Used to treat athletes foot Atovaquone (Mepron) For treatment of Pneumocystis pneumonia Metronidazole (Flagyl) For treatment of vaginal fungal infections


Antimalarial Agents: treatment of malaria - most effective when the malaria parasite is in its nonreproductive stage Common Antimalarial Agents: Chloroquine (Aralen) Used to treat an acute attack as a preventive Primaquine (Aminoquinolone) Effective against malaria in RBCs and tissue Quinine sulphate (Quinine-Odan) Used to treat chloroquine-resistant strains   Other Antiprotozoal Agents: Other protozoal diseased encounter in Canada, include trichomoniasis and toxoplasmosis Atovaquone (Mepron) For treatment of Trichomonas vaginitis Metronidazole (Flagyl) For treatment of toxoplasmosis


Used for the treatment of infection caused by worms, including pinworms, tapeworms, flatworms and roundworms Commonly infest the GI tract Praziquantel (Biltricide) Mebendazole (Vermox)


Antiseptic Agents: May be applied locally for cleansing the skin and mucous membranes. They inhibit microbrial growth and at high concentration may kill microbes. Common Antiseptics: Chlorhexidine gluconate, Povidone, Benzalkonium chloride   Disinfectant Agents: applied to nonanimate objects to destroy microorganisms Common Disinfectants: Iodine, Hydrogen peroxide, Formaldehyde

Drugs That Affect the Urinary System


Increase the production and excretion of urine by inhibiting the reabsorption of sodium and water Primary Uses of Diuretics: - Hypertension: A reduced circulating fluid volume, decreases BP - Congestive Heart Failure: Decreased circulating fluid volume, decreased the preload and afterload on the heart - Kidney Failure: Stimulates optimal functioning of the damaged kidney and reduces retained fluid - Liver failure: Reduces retained fluid and wastes by stimulating maxiumum functioning of the kidney - Increased Intracranial Pressure: Removes retained fluids within the brain to relieve pressure - For hormonal imbalances that result in the retention of fluid, such as during the premenstrual period and with corticosteroid use   Combination Drugs: Combination diuretic is the potassium-sparing plus thiazide type Spirinolactone + Hydrochlorothiazide (Aldactazide) Triamterene + Hydrochlorothiazide (Dyazide)

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors

Loop Diuretics

Osmotic Diuretics

Potassium-Sparing Diuretics

Thiazides and Thiazidelike Diuetics


Produce relief of the discomfort produced by inflammation or infection of the bladder - provide local analgesic or anaesthetic effects phenazopyridine (Pyridium) - It is important to inform client that urine will turn orange in color - Clients should be aware of the importance of continuing the concurrent antimicrobial therapy as this medication has no antimicrobial properties


Relieve urinary retention that is nonobstructive in nature Act by stimulating cholinergic receptors in the bladder, resulting in the contraction of the bladder smooth muscle and micturition Bethanechol (Urecholine) - Clients should be advised of Cholinergic effects - Adverse effects: abdominal discomfort, bronchospasm, increased salivation, abdominal cramps, hypotension, and bradycardia - Clients should be advised to make position changes slowly to avoid postural hypotension

Antineoplastic Agents

Chemotherapuetic Agents - treat various cancers These agents interfere with the M phase and DNA Synthesis (S) Stages of the cell cycle and are effective against rapidly dividing cells. Cycle Nonspecific Drugs: do not focus on one specific stage of the cell cycle. used as a prophylactic treatment to suppress the proliferation of cancer cells. Adjuvant Therapy: Used in combination with chemotherapuetic agents as "rescue" drugs to combat certain adverse effects associated with specific chemotherapuetic agents. Major Adverse effects: - GI ulceration - Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea - Anemia (erythrocytopenia) - Infection (leukopenia) - Hemorrhage (thrombocytopenia) - Alopecia - Thin, malformed, brittle nails

Alkylating Agents

Busulphan (Myleran) Cisplatin (Platinol) Cyclophosphamide (Procytox) Uses: Inhibit tumor cell mitosis by interfering with the chemical structure of tumour cell DNA, kill tumour cells or slow their growth Characteristics: Cell cycle nonspecific


Methotrexate (Folex) Mercaptopurine (Purinethol) Fluorouracil (5-FU) Uses: Disrupt metabolic pathways of tumour cells by occupying spaces of normal building blocks, tumour cells are unable to multiply Characteristics: Cell cycle specific (S phase), replaces normal building blocks required by cancer cells to survive

Mitotic Inhibitors

Vinblastine (Velban) Vincristine (Oncovin) Etoposide (VePesid) Uses: Interfere with tumour cells during mitosis Characteristics: Cell cycle specific (M phase)

Antitumor Antibiotics

Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) Bleomycin (Blenoxane) Dactinomycin (Cosmogen) Uses: Antibiotic destructive action on tumour cells by interfering with DNA or RNA synthesis, destroy tumour cells Characteristics: cell cycle nonspecific, antibiotic effect

Topoisomerase-1 Inhibitors

Irinotecan (Camptosar) Topotecan (Hycamtin) Uses: Inhibit normal functioning of tumour cells DNA during the S phase of the cell cycle, tumour cell development is prevented Characteristics: Cell cycle specific, new class of antineoplastic, plant alkaloid

Hormonal Antagonists

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) (female specific) Flutamide (Eulexin) (male specific) Action: Alter hormonal environemnt required by tumour cells, environment undesirable for growth and reproduction of tumour cells Characteristics: Cell cycle nonspecific, Prescribed for hormone-dependent tumours

Biological Response Modifiers

Interferon (IFN alpha 2a) Action: Stimulate client's own immune system by enhancing the immunological functioning of the body Characteristics: Cell cycle nonspecific, not specifically cytotoxic, reduced adverse effects due to immuno-suppression

Vitamins and Minerals












Cardiovascular Disorders

Brain Attack - TIA


Hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and diastolic. Normal blood pressure is at or below 120/80 mmHg. The first figure is the systolic blood pressure, the pressure in the arteries when your heart is contracting. The second, or lower figure, is the diastolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries between heart beats. High blood pressure is anything above 140/90 mmHg. Hypertension is the opposite of hypotension. Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension; about 90–95% of cases are categorized as "primary hypertension," which means high blood pressure with no obvious medical cause. The remaining 5–10% of cases (Secondary hypertension) are caused by other...

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary artery disease (CAD; also atherosclerotic heart disease) is the end result of the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls of the coronary arteries that supply the myocardium (the muscle of the heart) with oxygen and nutrients. It is sometimes also called coronary heart disease (CHD). Although CAD is the most common cause of CHD, it is not the only one. CAD is the leading cause of death worldwide. While the symptoms and signs of coronary artery disease are noted in the advanced state of disease, most individuals with coronary artery disease show no evidence of disease for decades as the disease progresses before the first onset of symptoms, often a "sudden" heart attack, finally arises. After decades of progression, some of these atheromatous plaques may rupture and (along with the activation of the blood clotting system) start limiting blood flow to the heart muscle. The disease is the most common cause of sudden death, and is also the most common reason for...


Myocardial Infarction (MI)

Sudden Cardiac Death

Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart disease is any disease process involving one or more of the valves of the heart (the aortic and mitral valves on the left and the pulmonary and tricuspid valves on the right). Valve problems may be congenital (inborn) or acquired (due to another cause later in life). Treatment may be with medication but often (depending on the severity) involves valve repair or replacement (insertion of an artificial heart valve). Specific situations include those where additional demands are made on the circulation, such as in pregnancy. Pulmonary and tricuspid valve diseases are right-side heart diseases. Pulmonary valve diseases are the least common heart valve disease in adults. The most common types of pulmonary valve diseases are: The International Statistical Classification of Diseases classifies non rheumatic pulmonary valve diseases as I37. Both tricuspid and pulmonary valve diseases are less common than aortic or mitral valve diseases due to the lower pressure those valves...


Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD), commonly referred to as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or peripheral artery occlusive disease (PAOD), refers to the obstruction of large arteries not within the coronary, aortic arch vasculature, or brain. PVD can result from atherosclerosis, inflammatory processes leading to stenosis, an embolism, or thrombus formation. It causes either acute or chronic ischemia (lack of blood supply). Often PAD is a term used to refer to atherosclerotic blockages found in the lower extremity. PVD also includes a subset of diseases classified as microvascular diseases resulting from episodal narrowing of the arteries (Raynaud's phenomenon), or widening thereof (erythromelalgia), i.e. vascular spasms. Peripheral artery occlusive disease is commonly divided in the Fontaine stages, introduced by René Fontaine in 1954 for ischemia: A more recent classification by Rutherford consists of three grades and six categories: About 20% of patients with mild PAD may be...

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (also known as AAA, pronounced "triple-a") is a localized dilatation (ballooning) of the abdominal aorta exceeding the normal diameter by more than 50 percent, and is the most common form of aortic aneurysm. Approximately 90 percent of abdominal aortic aneurysms occur infrarenally (below the kidneys), but they can also occur pararenally (at the level of the kidneys) or suprarenally (above the kidneys). Such aneurysms can extend to include one or both of the iliac arteries in the pelvis. Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur most commonly in individuals between 65 and 75 years old and are more common among men and smokers. They tend to cause no symptoms, although occasionally they cause pain in the abdomen and back (due to pressure on surrounding tissues) or in the legs (due to disturbed blood flow). The major complication of abdominal aortic aneurysms is rupture, which is life-threatening, as large amounts of blood spill into the abdominal cavity, and can lead...

Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) often called congestive heart failure (CHF) is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition is diagnosed with echocardiography and blood tests. Treatment commonly consists of lifestyle measures (such as smoking cessation, light exercise including breathing protocols, decreased salt intake and other dietary changes) and medications, and sometimes devices or even surgery. Common causes of heart failure include myocardial infarction and other forms of ischemic heart disease, hypertension, valvular heart disease, and cardiomyopathy. The term "heart failure" is sometimes incorrectly used to describe other cardiac-related illnesses, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or cardiac arrest, which can cause heart failure but are not equivalent to heart failure. Heart...


Circulatory shock, commonly known simply as shock, is a life-threatening medical condition that occurs due to inadequate substrate for aerobic cellular respiration. In the early stages this is generally an inadequate tissue levels of oxygen. The typical signs of shock are low blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat and signs of poor end-organ perfusion or "decompensation" (such as low urine output, confusion or loss of consciousness). There are times that a person's blood pressure may remain stable, but may still be in circulatory shock, so it is not always a symptom. A circulatory shock should not be confused with the emotional state of shock, as the two are not related. Medical shock is a life-threatening medical emergency and one of the most common causes of death for critically ill people. Shock can have a variety of effects, all with similar outcomes, but all relate to a problem with the body's circulatory system. For example, shock may lead to hypoxemia (a lack of oxygen in...





In physiology and medicine, hypovolemia (also hypovolaemia) is a state of decreased blood volume; more specifically, decrease in volume of blood plasma. It is thus the intravascular component of volume contraction (or loss of blood volume due to things such as hemorrhaging or dehydration), but, as it also is the most essential one, hypovolemia and volume contraction are sometimes used synonymously. Hypovolemia is characterized by salt (sodium) depletion and thus differs from dehydration, which is defined as excessive loss of body water. Common causes of hypovolemia are dehydration, bleeding, vomiting, severe burns and drug vasodilators typically used to treat hypertensive individuals. Rarely, it may occur as a result of a blood donation, sweating, and alcohol consumption. It is also common during surgery due to the use of anesthetics, nil-by-mouth, and in-operation bleeding. A ruptured ovarian cyst associated with (PCOS - polycystic ovarian syndrome) may cause severe internal...

Cardiopulmonary Arrest

Cardiac arrest, (also known as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest) is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively. Medical personnel can refer to an unexpected cardiac arrest as a sudden cardiac arrest or SCA. A cardiac arrest is different from (but may be caused by) a heart attack, where blood flow to the muscle of the heart is impaired. Arrested blood circulation prevents delivery of oxygen to the body. Lack of oxygen to the brain causes loss of consciousness, which then results in abnormal or absent breathing. Brain injury is likely if cardiac arrest goes untreated for more than five minutes. For the best chance of survival and neurological recovery, immediate and decisive treatment is imperative. Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that, in certain situations, is potentially reversible if treated early. When unexpected cardiac arrest leads to death this is called sudden cardiac death (SCD). The treatment for...

Respiratory Disorders


Asthma (from the Greek άσθμα, ásthma, "panting") is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma is clinically classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. Asthma may also be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic). It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment of acute symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist (such as salbutamol). Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, and by inhaling corticosteroids. Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids and thus less preferred. Its diagnosis is usually made based on the pattern of symptoms and/or response to therapy...

Pulmonary Embolus

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism). Usually this is due to embolism of a thrombus (blood clot) from the deep veins in the legs, a process termed venous thromboembolism. A small proportion is due to the embolization of air, fat, talc in drugs of intravenous drug abusers or amniotic fluid. The obstruction of the blood flow through the lungs and the resultant pressure on the right ventricle of the heart leads to the symptoms and signs of PE. The risk of PE is increased in various situations, such as cancer or prolonged bed rest. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include difficulty breathing, chest pain on inspiration, and palpitations. Clinical signs include low blood oxygen saturation and cyanosis, rapid breathing, and a rapid heart rate. Severe cases of PE can lead to collapse, abnormally low blood pressure, and sudden death. Diagnosis...

Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary edema (American English), or oedema (British English; both words from the Greek οἴδημα), is fluid accumulation in the air spaces and parenchyma of the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure. It is due to either failure of the left ventricle of the heart to adequately remove blood from the pulmonary circulation ("cardiogenic pulmonary edema"), see below, or an injury to the lung parenchyma or vasculature of the lung ("noncardiogenic pulmonary edema"), see below. Whilst the range of causes are manifold the treatment options are limited, and to a large extent, the most effective therapies are used whatever the cause. Treatment is focused on three aspects, firstly improving respiratory function, secondly, treating the underlying cause, and thirdly avoiding further damage to the lung. Pulmonary edema, especially in the acute setting, can lead to respiratory failure, cardiac arrest due to hypoxia and death. The overwhelming symptom of...

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), chronic airflow limitation (CAL) and chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD), is the co-occurrence of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a pair of commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed. This leads to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs, causing shortness of breath (dyspnea). In clinical practice, COPD is defined by its characteristically low airflow on lung function tests. In contrast to asthma, this limitation is poorly reversible and usually gets progressively worse over time. In England, an estimated 842,100 of 50 million people have a diagnosis of COPD. COPD is caused by noxious particles or gas, most commonly from tobacco smoking, which triggers an abnormal inflammatory response in the lung. The diagnosis of COPD requires lung function tests. Important management...


Tuberculosis, MTB or TB (short for tubercle bacillus) is a common and in many cases lethal infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active MTB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit their saliva through the air. Most infections in humans result in an asymptomatic, latent infection, and about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of its victims. The classic symptoms are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss (the last giving rise to the formerly prevalent colloquial term "consumption"). Infection of other organs causes a wide range of symptoms. Diagnosis relies on radiology (commonly chest X-rays), a tuberculin skin test, blood tests, as well as microscopic examination...

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), also known as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) or adult respiratory distress syndrome (in contrast with IRDS) is a serious reaction to various forms of injuries to the lung. ARDS is a severe lung disease caused by a variety of direct and indirect issues. It is characterized by inflammation of the lung parenchyma leading to impaired gas exchange with concomitant systemic release of inflammatory mediators causing inflammation, hypoxemia and frequently resulting in multiple organ failure. This condition is often fatal, usually requiring mechanical ventilation and admission to an intensive care unit. A less severe form is called acute lung injury (ALI). ARDS formerly most commonly signified adult respiratory distress syndrome to differentiate it from infant respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. However, as this type of pulmonary edema also occurs in children, ARDS has gradually shifted to mean acute rather than adult. The...

Acute Respiratory Failure

The term respiratory failure, in medicine, is used to describe inadequate gas exchange by the respiratory system, with the result that arterial oxygen and/or carbon dioxide levels cannot be maintained within their normal ranges. A drop in blood oxygenation is known as hypoxemia; a rise in arterial carbon dioxide levels is called hypercapnia. The normal reference values are: oxygen PaO2 greater than 80 mmHg (11 kPa), and carbon dioxide PaCO2 less than 45 mmHg (6.0 kPa). Classification into type I or type II relates to the absence or presence of hypercarbia respectively. Type 1 respiratory failure is defined as hypoxia without hypercarbia, and indeed the PaCO2 may be normal or low. It is typically caused by a ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) mismatch; the volume of air flowing in and out of the lungs is not matched with the flow of blood to the lungs. The basic defect in type 1 respiratory failure is failure of oxygenation characterized by: This type of respiratory failure is caused by...


Atelectasis (from Greek: ἀτελής, incomplete + ἔκτασις, "extension") is defined as the collapse or closure of alveoli resulting in reduced or absent gas exchange. It may affect part or all of one lung. It is a condition where the alveoli are deflated, as distinct from pulmonary consolidation. It is a very common finding in chest x-rays and other radiological studies. It may be caused by normal exhalation or by several medical conditions. Although frequently described as a collapse of lung tissue, atelectasis is not synonymous with a pneumothorax, which is a more specific condition that features atelectasis. Acute atelectasis may occur as a post-operative complication or as a result of surfactant deficiency. In premature neonates, this leads to infant respiratory distress syndrome. Atelectasis may be an acute or chronic condition. In acute atelectasis, the lung has recently collapsed and is primarily notable only for airlessness. In chronic atelectasis, the affected area is often...


Pneumothorax (plural pneumothoraces) is a collection of air or gas in the pleural cavity of the chest between the lung and the chest wall. It may occur spontaneously in people without chronic lung conditions ("primary") as well as in those with lung disease ("secondary"), and many pneumothoraces occur after physical trauma to the chest, blast injury, or as a complication of medical treatment. The symptoms of a pneumothorax are determined by the size of the air leak and the speed by which it occurs; they may include chest pain in most cases and shortness of breath in many. The diagnosis can be made by physical examination in severe cases but usually requires a chest X-ray or computed tomography (CT scan) in milder forms. In a small proportion, the pneumothorax leads to severe oxygen shortage and low blood pressure, progressing to cardiac arrest unless treated; this situation is termed tension pneumothorax. Small spontaneous pneumothoraces typically resolve by themselves and require...

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas that derive from epithelial cells. Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women, and is responsible for 1.3 million deaths annually, as of 2004. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing (including coughing up blood), and weight loss. The main types of lung cancer are small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), also called oat cell cancer, and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The most common cause of lung cancer is long-term exposure to tobacco smoke. Nonsmokers account for 15% of lung cancer cases, and these cases are often attributed to a combination of genetic factors, radon gas, asbestos, and air pollution...

Renal Disorders

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine. The main causal agent is Escherichia coli. Although urine contains a variety of fluids, salts, and waste products, it does not usually have bacteria in it, but when bacteria get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, they may cause a UTI. The most common type of UTI is acute cystitis often referred to as a bladder infection. An infection of the upper urinary tract or kidney is known as pyelonephritis, and is potentially more serious. Although they cause discomfort, urinary tract infections can usually be easily treated with a short course of antibiotics with no significant difference between the classes of antibiotics commonly used. The most common symptoms of a bladder infection are burning with urination (dysuria), frequency of urination, an urge to urinate, no vaginal...


Pyelonephritis (from Greek πήληξ – pyelum, meaning "renal pelvis", νεφρός – nephros, meaning "kidney", and -itis, meaning "inflammation") is an ascending urinary tract infection that has reached the pyelum or pelvis of the kidney. It is a form of nephritis that is also referred to as pyelitis. Severe cases of pyelonephritis can lead to pyonephrosis (pus accumulation around the kidney), urosepsis (a systemic inflammatory response of the body to infection), kidney failure and even death. Pyelonephritis presents with fever, accelerated heart rate, painful urination, abdominal pain radiating to the back, nausea, and tenderness at the costovertebral angle on the affected side. Pyelonephritis that has progressed to urosepsis may be accompanied by signs of septic shock, including rapid breathing, decreased blood pressure, violent shivering, and occasionally delirium. Pyelonephritis requires antibiotic therapy, and sometimes surgical intervention such as ureteroscopy, percutaneous...

Nephrotic Syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a nonspecific disorder in which the kidneys are damaged, causing them to leak large amounts of protein (proteinuria at least 3.5 grams per day per 1.73m body surface area) from the blood into the urine. Kidneys affected by nephrotic syndrome have small pores in the podocytes, large enough to permit proteinuria (and subsequently hypoalbuminemia, because some of the protein albumin has gone from the blood to the urine) but not large enough to allow cells through (hence no hematuria). By contrast, in nephritic syndrome, RBCs pass through the pores, causing hematuria. According to NephCure, most often, Nephrotic Syndrome is defined by its primary diseases that attack the kidney’s filtering system. Some of these cases are idiopathic. It is characterized by proteinuria (>3.5g/day), hypoalbuminemia, hyperlipidemia and edema which is generalized & also known as anasarca or dropsy. Common among 2–6 years old boys. The edema begins in the face. Lipiduria (lipids in...


Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis ("MPGN"), also known as mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis, is a type of glomerulonephritis caused by deposits in the kidney glomerular mesangium and basement membrane (GBM) thickening, activating complement and damaging the glomeruli. MPGN accounts for approximately 4% of primary renal causes of nephrotic syndrome in children and 7% in adults. It should not be confused with membranous glomerulonephritis, a condition in where the basement membrane is thickened, but the mesangium is not. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis involves deposits at the intraglomerular mesangium. The GBM is rebuilt on top of the deposits, causing a "tram tracking" appearance under the microscope. Mesangial cellularity is increased. There are three types of MPGN. Type I the most common by far, is caused by immune complexes depositing in the kidney. It is characterised by subendothelial and mesangial immune deposits. It is believed to be associated with the...

Urinary Tract Calculi

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD or PCKD, also known as polycystic kidney syndrome) is a cystic genetic disorder of the kidneys. There are two types of PKD: Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) and the less-common Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD). It occurs in humans and some other animals. PKD is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts (hence, "polycystic") typically in both kidneys; however 17% of cases initially present with observable disease in one kidney, with most cases progressing to bilateral disease in adulthood. The cysts are numerous and are fluid-filled, resulting in massive enlargement of the kidneys. The disease can also damage the liver, pancreas and, in some rare cases, the heart and brain. The two major forms of polycystic kidney disease are distinguished by their patterns of inheritance. Polycystic Kidney Disease is the most common life-threatening genetic disease, affecting an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. In...

Acute Renal Failure

Acute kidney injury (AKI), previously called acute renal failure (ARF), is a rapid loss of kidney function. Its causes are numerous and include low blood volume from any cause, exposure to substances harmful to the kidney, and obstruction of the urinary tract. AKI is diagnosed on the basis of characteristic laboratory findings, such as elevated blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, or inability of the kidneys to produce sufficient amounts of urine. AKI may lead to a number of complications, including metabolic acidosis, high potassium levels, uremia, changes in body fluid balance, and effects to other organ systems. Management includes supportive care, such as renal replacement therapy, as well as treatment of the underlying disorder. The symptoms of acute kidney injury result from the various disturbances of kidney function that are associated with the disease. Accumulation of urea and other nitrogen-containing substances in the bloodstream lead to a number of symptoms, such as...

Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic renal disease, is a progressive loss in renal function over a period of months or years. The symptoms of worsening kidney function are unspecific, and might include feeling generally unwell and experiencing a reduced appetite. Often, chronic kidney disease is diagnosed as a result of screening of people known to be at risk of kidney problems, such as those with high blood pressure or diabetes and those with a blood relative with chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease may also be identified when it leads to one of its recognized complications, such as cardiovascular disease, anemia or pericarditis. Chronic kidney disease is identified by a blood test for creatinine. Higher levels of creatinine indicate a falling glomerular filtration rate and as a result a decreased capability of the kidneys to excrete waste products. Creatinine levels may be normal in the early stages of CKD, and the condition is discovered if urinalysis...


In medicine, dialysis (from Greek "dialusis", meaning dissolution, "dia", meaning through, and "lysis", meaning loosening) is a process for removing waste and excess water from the blood, and is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with renal failure. Dialysis may be used for those with an acute disturbance in kidney function (acute kidney injury, previously acute renal failure) or for those with progressive but chronically worsening kidney function–a state known as chronic kidney disease stage 5 (previously chronic renal failure or end-stage kidney disease). The latter form may develop over months or years, but in contrast to acute kidney injury is not usually reversible, and dialysis is regarded as a "holding measure" until a renal transplant can be performed, or sometimes as the only supportive measure in those for whom a transplant would be inappropriate. The kidneys have important roles in maintaining health. When healthy, the...

Neurological/ Musculoskeletal Diseases

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (abbreviated MS, known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata) is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms. Disease onset usually occurs in young adults, and it is more common in women. It has a prevalence that ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000. MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot. MS affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other effectively. Nerve cells communicate by sending electrical signals called action potentials down long fibers called axons, which are contained within an insulating substance called myelin. In MS, the body's own immune system attacks and damages the myelin. When myelin is lost, the axons can no longer effectively conduct signals. The name multiple sclerosis refers to scars...

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (also known as Parkinson disease, Parkinson's, idiopathic parkinsonism, primary parkinsonism, PD, or paralysis agitans) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain; the cause of this cell death is unknown. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related; these include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, cognitive and behavioural problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep and emotional problems. PD is more common in the elderly, with most cases occurring after the age of 50. The main motor symptoms are collectively called parkinsonism, or a "parkinsonian syndrome". Parkinson's disease is often defined as a parkinsonian syndrome that is...

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury (SCI) refers to any injury to the spinal cord that is caused by trauma instead of disease. Depending on where the spinal cord and nerve roots are damaged, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain to paralysis to incontinence. Spinal cord injuries are described at various levels of "incomplete", which can vary from having no effect on the patient to a "complete" injury which means a total loss of function. Treatment of spinal cord injuries starts with restraining the spine and controlling inflammation to prevent further damage. The actual treatment can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the injury. In many cases, spinal cord injuries require substantial physical therapy and rehabilitation, especially if the patient's injury interferes with activities of daily life. Spinal cord injuries have many causes, but are typically associated with major trauma from motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, and violence. Research into treatments for...


Osteomyelitis (osteo- derived from the Greek word osteon, meaning bone, myelo- meaning marrow, and -itis meaning inflammation) simply means an infection of the bone or bone marrow. It can be usefully subclassified on the basis of the causative organism (pyogenic bacteria or mycobacteria), the route, duration and anatomic location of the infection. In general, microorganisms may infect bone through one or more of three basic methods: via the bloodstream, contiguously from local areas of infection (as in cellulitis), or penetrating trauma, including iatrogenic causes such as joint replacements or internal fixation of fractures or root-canaled teeth. Once the bone is infected, leukocytes enter the infected area, and, in their attempt to engulf the infectious organisms, release enzymes that lyse the bone. Pus spreads into the bone's blood vessels, impairing their flow, and areas of devitalized infected bone, known as sequestra, form the basis of a chronic infection. Often, the body...


Osteoporosis ("porous bones", from Greek: ὀστέον/osteon meaning "bone" and πόρος/poros meaning "pore") is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture is deteriorating, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone is altered. Osteoporosis is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass (average of young, healthy adults) as measured by DXA; the term "established osteoporosis" includes the presence of a fragility fracture. The disease may be classified as primary type 1, primary type 2, or secondary. The form of osteoporosis most common in women after menopause is referred to as primary type 1 or postmenopausal osteoporosis. Primary type 2 osteoporosis or senile osteoporosis occurs after age 75 and is seen in both females and males at a ratio of 2:1. Finally, secondary osteoporosis may...

Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia (new Latin, fibro-, fibrous tissues, Gk. myo-, muscle, Gk. algos-, pain, meaning muscle and connective tissue pain; also referred to as FM or FMS) is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia, a heightened and painful response to pressure. It is an example of a diagnosis of exclusion. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some patients may also report difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms. Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–4% of the population, with a female...

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the most common name used to designate a significantly debilitating medical disorder or group of disorders generally defined by persistent fatigue accompanied by other specific symptoms for a minimum of six months, not due to ongoing exertion, not substantially relieved by rest, nor caused by other medical conditions. The disorder may also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or several other terms. Although classified by the World Health Organization under Diseases of the nervous system, the etiology (cause or origin) of CFS is unknown, and multiple psychological and physiological factors may contribute to the development and maintenance of symptoms. There is no diagnostic laboratory test or biomarker for CFS. Symptoms of CFS include post-exertional malaise; unrefreshing sleep; widespread muscle and joint pain; sore throat; headaches of a type not...


Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion. A variety of causes—hereditary, developmental, metabolic, and mechanical—may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage. When bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, bone may be exposed and damaged. As a result of decreased movement secondary to pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and ligaments may become more lax. Treatment generally involves a combination of exercise, lifestyle modification, and analgesics. If pain becomes debilitating, joint replacement surgery may be used to improve the quality of life. OA is the most common form of arthritis, and the leading cause of chronic disability in the United States. It affects about 8 million people in the United...

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks synovial joints. The process produces an inflammatory response of the synovium (synovitis) secondary to hyperplasia of synovial cells, excess synovial fluid, and the development of pannus in the synovium. The pathology of the disease process often leads to the destruction of articular cartilage and ankylosis of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, pericardium, pleura, and sclera, and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in both its chronicity and progression, and RA is considered a systemic autoimmune disease. About 1% of the world's population is afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis, women three times more often than men. Onset is most frequent between the ages of 40 and 50, but people of any...

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (/sɨˈstɛmɪk ˈluːpəs ˌɛrɨθiːməˈtoʊsəs/), often abbreviated to SLE or lupus, is a systemic autoimmune disease (or autoimmune connective tissue disease) that can affect any part of the body. As occurs in other autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body's cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. It is a Type III hypersensitivity reaction caused by antibody-immune complex formation. SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. The disease occurs nine times more often in women than in men, especially in women in child-bearing years ages 15 to 35, and is also more common in those of non-European descent. SLE is treatable using immunosuppression, mainly with cyclophosphamide, corticosteroids and other immunosuppressants; there is currently no cure. SLE can...

Trauma, Burns, Fractures

Head Injury

Head injury refers to trauma of the head. This may or may not include injury to the brain. However, the terms traumatic brain injury and head injury are often used interchangeably in medical literature. The incidence (number of new cases) of head injury is 300 of every 100,000 per year (0.3% of the population), with a mortality rate of 25 per 100,000 in North America and 9 per 100,000 in Britain. Head trauma is a common cause of childhood hospitalization. Head injuries include both injuries to the brain and those to other parts of the head, such as the scalp and skull. Head injuries may be closed or open. A closed (non-missile) head injury is where the dura mater remains intact. The skull can be fractured, but not necessarily. A penetrating head injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and breaches the dura mater. Brain injuries may be diffuse, occurring over a wide area, or focal, located in a small, specific area. A head injury may cause a minor headache skull fracture,...

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Oncological Disorders


Malignant Neoplasm is a tumor composed of atypical neoplastic, often pleomorphic cells that invade other tissues. Malignant neoplasms often metastasize to distant anatomic sites and may recur after excision. The most common malignant neoplasms are carcinomas (adenocarcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas), Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas, leukemias, melanomas, and sarcomas.


Leukemia (American English) or leukaemia (British English) (from the Greek leukos λεύκος - white, and haima αίμα - blood) is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases. In turn, it is part of the even broader group of diseases affecting the blood, bone marrow and lymphoid system, which are all known as hematological neoplasms. In 2000, approximately 256,000 children and adults around the world developed some form of leukemia, and 209,000 died from it. About 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults. Clinically and pathologically, leukemia is subdivided into a variety of large groups. The first division is between its acute and chronic forms: Additionally, the diseases are subdivided according to which kind of blood cell is affected. This split divides leukemias into lymphoblastic or lymphocytic leukemias and myeloid or myelogenous...

Hodgkin's Disease

Hodgkin's lymphoma, previously known as Hodgkin's disease, is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer originating from white blood cells called lymphocytes. It was named after Thomas Hodgkin, who first described abnormalities in the lymph system in 1832. Hodgkin's lymphoma is characterized by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease. When Hodgkins cells are examined microscopically, multinucleated Reed-Sternberg cells (RS cells) are the characteristic histopathologic finding. Hodgkin's lymphoma may be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the choice of treatment depending on the age and sex of the patient and the stage, bulk and histological subtype of the disease. The disease occurrence shows two peaks: the first in young adulthood (age 15–35) and the second in those over 55 years old. The 10-year overall survival rate is more than 90% for...

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer (malignant breast neoplasm) is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas. Breast cancer is a disease of humans and other mammals; while the overwhelming majority of cases in humans are women, men can also develop breast cancer. The size, stage, rate of growth, and other characteristics of the tumor determine the kinds of treatment. Treatment may include surgery, drugs (hormonal therapy and chemotherapy), radiation and/or immunotherapy. Surgical removal of the tumor provides the single largest benefit, with surgery alone being capable of producing a cure in many cases. To somewhat increase the likelihood of long-term disease-free survival, several chemotherapy regimens are commonly given in addition to surgery. Most forms of chemotherapy kill cells...

Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a cancerous growth arising from the ovary. Symptoms are frequently very subtle early on and may include: bloating, pelvic pain, difficulty eating and frequent urination, and are easily confused with other illnesses. Most (more than 90%) ovarian cancers are classified as "epithelial" and are believed to arise from the surface (epithelium) of the ovary. However, some evidence suggests that the fallopian tube could also be the source of some ovarian cancers. Since the ovaries and tubes are closely related to each other, it is thought that these fallopian cancer cells can mimic ovarian cancer. Other types may arise from the egg cells (germ cell tumor) or supporting cells. These cancers are grouped into the category of gynecologic cancer. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequently absent early on and when they exist they may be subtle. In most cases, the symptoms persist for several months before being recognized and diagnosed. Most women with ovarian cancer...

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize (spread) from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease. Rates of detection of prostate cancers vary widely across the world, with South and East Asia detecting less frequently than in Europe, and especially the United States. Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty and although it is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in men, many never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes. This is because cancer of the prostate is, in most cases, slow-growing, symptom-free,...

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is cancer that develops in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. In the United States, between 7,500 and 8,000 diagnoses of testicular cancer are made each year. In the UK, approximately 2,000 men are diagnosed each year. Over his lifetime, a man's risk of testicular cancer is roughly 1 in 250 (0.4%). It is the most common cancer in males aged 20–39 years, the period of peak incidence, and is rarely seen before the age of 15 years. Testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers: in excess of 90 percent; essentially 100 percent if it has not spread (metastasized). Even for the relatively few cases in which malignant cancer has spread widely, modern chemotherapy offers a cure rate of at least 80%. Not all lumps on the testicles are tumors, and not all tumors are malignant; there are many other conditions such as testicular microlithiasis, epididymal cysts, appendix testis (hydatid of Morgagni), and so on which may be painful but...

Endocrine Disorders

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Isipidus

Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone

The syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone hypersecretion (SIADH) is characterized by excessive release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH or vasopressin) from the posterior pituitary gland or another source. The result is hyponatremia and sometimes fluid overload. It is usually found in patients diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma of the lung, pneumonia, brain tumors, head trauma, strokes, meningitis, and encephalitis. The normal function of ADH on the kidneys is to control the amount of water reabsorbed by kidney nephrons. ADH acts in the distal portion of the renal tubule (Distal Convoluted Tubule) as well as on the collecting duct and causes the retention of water, but not solute. Hence, ADH activity effectively dilutes the blood (decreasing the concentrations of solutes such as sodium). ADH is secreted to prevent water loss in the kidneys. When water is ingested, it is taken up into the circulation and results in a dilution of the plasma. This dilution, otherwise described...

Addison's Disease

Addison’s disease (also chronic adrenal insufficiency, hypocortisolism, and hypoadrenalism) is a rare, chronic endocrine disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient steroid hormones (glucocorticoids and often mineralocorticoids). It is characterised by a number of relatively nonspecific symptoms, such as abdominal pain and weakness, but under certain circumstances these may progress to Addisonian crisis, a severe illness in which there may be very low blood pressure and coma. The condition arises from problems with the adrenal gland itself, a state referred to as "primary adrenal insufficiency" and can be caused by damage by the body's own immune system, certain infections or various rarer causes. Addison's disease is also known as chronic primary adrenocortical insufficiency, to distinguish it from acute primary adrenocortical insufficiency, most often caused by Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome. Addison's disease should also be distinguished from secondary and...

Cushing's Syndrome

Pseudo-Cushing's syndrome is a medical condition in which patients display the signs, symptoms, and abnormal hormone levels seen in Cushing's syndrome. However, pseudo-Cushing's syndrome is not caused by a problem with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as Cushing's is; it is an idiopathic condition.

Surgical Nursing

Pre-Op work up

Post-Op Complications/Care

- Monitoring and managing resp and circ function - Pain - Temp - Surgical Site - Airway patency, rate and quality of resp, and auscultation of breath sounds in all fields will be assessed - O2 therapy may be establihed - Cardiac monitoring, including rate and rhythm of the client's heartbeat, will be compared to the preop findings - BP and temp compaired to preop baseline - Neuro assessment - LOC, orientation, sensory and motor status, size and equality of pupils - Intake and output   *hearing is the first sense to return* Clients who are particulary at risk for resp problems include those recieving general anaesth., older adults, heavy smokers, obese, and clients who are undergoing thoracic, airway or abdominal surgery. Potential alteration in resp function include airway obstruction, hypoxemia, atelectasis, pulmonary edema, aspiration of gastric contents, bronchospasms, and hypoventilation. To prevent these potential resp problems, the client should be placed in the proper position to facilitate resp and protect the airway (lateral position). Once conscious the client will be allowed in the supine position with the head of the bed elevated. Deep breathing is encouraged. Most common complications of the cardio system include hypotension, hypertension, and dysrhythmias. Clients at greatest risk for developing these complications are those with previous cardiac history, older adults, and those who are debilitated or critically ill. Frequent monitoring of vital signs and skin color, temp and moisture, cardiac rhythms to prevent complications. Management of complications may include o2 therapy, IV fluids, antidysrhythmic meds, analgesics, warming the client and emptying the clients bladder. Emergence delirium and delayed awakening are neuro complications that may develop. Due to a variety of factors and may manifest as restlessness, agitation, disorientation, etc. Pain and discomfort are common concerns for clients. Analgesics in the form of IV narcs, epidural caths, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) or regional anaesthetic blocks. Prolonged anaesthetic admin may lead to redistribution of body heat and increase the risk of hypothermia. Complications related to hypothermia include compriming the immune function, postop pain, bleeding, myocardial ischemia, and delayed drug metabolism. Passive warming increased metab rate - Active rewarming requires an application of warming devices (blankets). Nausea and vomiting can be signif postop problems. To treat these symptoms the nurse may give an antiemetic or prokinetic drug. In order for the client to be discharged (to another unit) - mobile, alert, and able to provide a degree of selfcare. Pain, nausea and vomiting should be controlled. Fluid and electrolyte imbalances may contribute to cardio alterations. Fluid retention in the first 2-5 days could occur due to the stress response. The stress response can contribute to an increase in clotting factors. Syncope (loss of consciousness) can indicate a decreased CO, fluid deficiets or deficits in cerebral perfusion. A low urinary output can be expected for the first 24 hrs due to an increase in aldosterone and ADH levels due to stress response of surgery, fluid losses, drainage and diaphoresis. Anticholinergic and narcotic drugs may interfere with ability to initiate voiding. 30ml/hr!! If the client does not have a catheter, he or she should be able to void about 200 mL following surgery. The client will remain NPO until the gag reflux has returned and the client has bowel sounds. Clear fluids are introduced first and advanced fluids as tolerated Adequate nutrition is important to help fight the catabolic effect of the stress response and assist in wound healing.

Bowel Obstructions

Lab Values

WBC COUNT Neutrophils 60-70% (Bacterial Infections) Monocytes 0-9% (Infection, inflammation) Eosinophils 0-6% (Allergc reactions, parasites) Basophils 0-3% (Inflammation) Lymphocytes 9-36% (Immune response)   ARTERIAL BLOOD GASES Arterial pH 7.35-7.45 Arterial P02 80-100mmHg Arterial PCO2 35-45mmHg Bicarbonate HCO3 21-28 mmHg 02 Saturation 95-100% Evaluates respiratory, cardiac and renal functioning and determines acid-base balance.   (AST) - Increased in liver disease, pulmonary and myocardial infarctions (ALT) - Increased in liver disease, shock (CK) - Increased in cardiac muscle, skeletal muscle, brain damage (GGT) - Increased in MI, liver disease, pancreatic disease, CMV infections BUN/Creatinine Ratio: - Increased Creatinine - renal disease - Decreased BUN - in liver disease - Increased BUN in renal disease - Increased indicative of kidney disease