Medical Surgical Pancreatitis #4

Question

A client is admitted for acute pancreatitis. Which symptoms will the nurse expect the client to demonstrate?

Answers

  1. Flu-like symptoms of malaise and fatigue.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because these are symptoms indicative of viral hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Symptoms include anorexia, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and flu-like symptoms.

  2. Indigestion, belching, and flatulence.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because indigestion, belching, and flatulence presents with cholecystitis. Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder.

  3. Intense abdominal pain at McBurney’s point.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because intense abdominal pain at McBurney’s point is a definitive sign of appendicitis. Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix and is a medical emergency.

  4. Abdominal pain with radiation to the back.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because abdominal pain with radiation to the back, which occurs suddenly is a sign of acute pancreatitis. The pain can start at the midepigastric or left upper quadrant of the stomach and radiate to the back. The client will also demonstrate abdominal guarding.

Overview

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that presents suddenly. Symptoms include abdominal pain with radiation to the back, pain that is aggravated by fatty foods, nausea and vomiting, abdominal guarding, and Cullen’s and Turner’s signs.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas which occurs suddenly. Symptoms include quick onset of abdominal pain with radiation to the back, 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 stools, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin.

Test Taking Tip

Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of the different “itis’s” of the gastrointestinal system. Some are medical emergencies!

Video Rationale