Medical Surgical Pancreatitis #2

Question

The nurse is performing discharge teaching to a client who was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Which symptom of pancreatitis should the client report to the provider?

Answers

  1. Abdominal tenderness
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because abdominal tenderness is to be expected with someone who experienced acute pancreatitis. Severe abdominal pain should be reported but abdominal tenderness is an expected, benign finding.

  2. Weight gain
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client will have experienced weight loss not weight gain with acute pancreatitis. This is due to the pancreas producing fewer enzymes to digest nutrients, resulting in weight loss and malnutrition.

  3. Foamy urine
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because foamy urine is not a symptom of pancreatitis, but development of dark urine is. This is because of the damage to the common bile duct from pancreatitis causes bile spillage into the blood, thus darkening the urine.

  4. Clay-colored stools
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because pancreatitis causes narrowing of the pancreas which causes narrowing of the common bile duct.This prevents bile from draining appropriately into the liver. This causes stools to become pale or clay-colored.

Overview

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas which occurs suddenly. Symptoms include quick onset of severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, pale, clay colored stools, Cullen’s sign, and Turner’s sign.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas which occurs suddenly. Symptoms include quick onset of severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, Cullen’s sign, and Turner’s sign. Cullen’s sign is discoloration of the abdomen and periumbilical area and Turner’s sign is bluish color to the flanks. Damage from pancreatitis causes the pancreas head to narrow. Since the common bile duct passes through the head of the pancreas, it too becomes narrowed. This prevents the bile from passing through the liver and instead it spills into the blood causing pale, clay-colored stools, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin.

Test Taking Tip

Knowing the pancreas’ and common bile duct’s role in digestion will help the student understand which symptom should be reported to the provider.

Video Rationale