Medical Surgical Pancreatitis #5

Question

A client is being evaluated for pancreatitis. Which labs in the comprehensive metabolic panel, if critical will indicate to the nurse a diagnosis of pancreatitis?

Answers

  1. RBCs and WBCs
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because RBCs and WBCs are not included in a comprehensive metabolic profile. These are blood cells that are taken into consideration within the complete blood count lab work. If these labs are critical, it would be more related to bleeding and anemia.

  2. BUN and creatinine
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because a critical value of BUN and creatinine indicates renal failure, shock, or dehydration. This can occur with many illnesses or disease processes, not just pancreatitis.

  3. ALT, SGPT
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because ALT and SGPT are enzymes found in the liver and kidneys. These are tests to assess liver damage.

  4. Amylase and lipase
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because amylase and lipase are pancreatic enzymes. These labs are considered the most sensitive markers for indication of pancreatitis. Lab values higher than 3 times the normal are considered critical and are a medical emergency.

Overview

A client with pancreatitis will have an elevation in the amylase and lipase three times higher than the normal value. Amylase and lipase are pancreatic enzymes that help digest fats and carbohydrates.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Amylase and lipase are pancreatic enzymes that help digest fats and carbohydrates. A client with pancreatitis will have an elevation in the amylase and lipase three times higher than the normal value. Amylase and lipase are considered the most sensitive markers for indication of pancreatitis. WBCs may be elevated in pancreatitis, due to the inflammation. Pancreatitis can cause elevation in BUN and creatinine due to dehydration or shock that pancreatitis can cause. Liver enzymes may play a role as to the cause of pancreatitis if they indicate gallstones. The disease process of pancreatitis can cause other problems within the body, creating abnormal labs; however, amylase and lipase are the labs to pay attention to when evaluating a client for pancreatitis.

Test Taking Tip

Be acquainted with basic lab tests and what they are testing. Know which labs are included in a CMP and CBC and what each means.

Video Rationale