Patho Patho #84

Question

Which immediate complication should the nurse assess for in a client with a newly placed left leg cast?

Answers

  1. 1. Constipation
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because constipation would not be an immediate complication following the placement of a leg cast.

  2. 2. Sepsis
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because sepsis would not be an immediate complication following placement of a leg cast. Sepsis would take days/weeks to develop and would be preceded by a local infection.

  3. 3. Compartment syndrome
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because compartment syndrome is the most critical, immediate potential complication for a client with a new cast. The nurse would monitor for signs of the 5 P’s of compartment syndrome: pain, pallor, pulselessness, paresthesia, and/ or paralysis.

  4. 4. Loss of appetite
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because loss of appetite is not the most critical or immediate potential complication for a client with a new leg cast.

Overview

The focus of this question is asking the nurse to identify the most immediate potential complication for a client with a new cast. Compartment syndrome is a potential complication from cast placement that results in ischemia due to an increased pressure within an enclosed compartment. To assess for compartment syndrome, the nurse would monitor for signs of pallor, pulselessness, pain, paresthesia, and/or paralysis.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Compartment syndrome is a very critical potential complication caused by pressure buildup within an enclosed muscle space within the body. Clients with newly placed arm or leg casts are at an increased risk for developing compartment syndrome due to bleeding/ edema buildup within the muscle. The nurse should monitor clients with newly placed casts for the classic manifestations of compartment syndrome.

Test Taking Tip

A-B-C- Compartment syndrome is an immediate threat to circulation within the extremity and is therefore the highest priority potential complication.

Video Rationale