Patho Patho #89

Question

The nurse is caring for a client with a diagnosis of unstable angina. What is the pathophysiological process responsible for this diagnosis?

Answers

  1. A complete blockage of a coronary artery causing myocardial cell death.
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because complete blockage of a coronary artery causing myocardial cell death describes a myocardial infarction, not unstable angina.

  2. An incomplete coronary blockage causing chest discomfort during heavy exercise.
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because an incomplete coronary blockage causing chest discomfort only during exertion describes stable angina, not unstable angina.

  3. Chest pain brought on by increased workload demands of the heart.
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because chest pain brought on by increased workload demands if the heart describes stable angina, not unstable angina. Unstable angina occurs at rest.

  4. Chest pain that occurs at rest caused by an incomplete blockage of a coronary vessel.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because unstable angina occurs due to incomplete blockage of a coronary artery with pain occurring at rest and unrelieved by medication.

Overview

The focus of this question is asking the nurse to identify the pathophysiology of unstable angina. Unstable angina is defined as chest pain caused by ischemia that is not brought on by exertion. Unstable angina is caused by an incomplete blockage in one or more coronary arteries that occurs at rest and is unrelieved by medication.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Angina may be classified as stable or unstable. Angina is chest pain that occurs during exertion or at rest. If angina is relieved by rest it is classified as stable, however, unstable angina occurs due to an incomplete blockage of a coronary artery and occurs during rest. Unstable angina is also referred to as acute coronary syndrome and does not relieve with administration of medication.

Test Taking Tip

Stable angina is relieved with rest and/or medication like nitro; unstable angina is unrelieved by rest or medication and is also referred to as acute coronary syndrome. Unstable angina is considered a medical emergency.

Video Rationale