Pharmacology Psych Meds Patho #1

Question

A client experiencing septic shock is placed on an IV vasopressor, norepinephrine. What is the therapeutic goal of this medication in this client?

Answers

  1. Increase perfusion to the peripheral system
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because norepinephrine causes peripheral vascular constriction, not increase perfusion to the periphery. The therapeutic goal is to shunt blood from the peripheral to the central organs (heart, lung, brain).

  2. Increase perfusion to the neurologic system
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the therapeutic goal is to shunt blood from the peripheral to the central organs (heart, lung, brain). The action of this medication causes peripheral vascular constriction to help the body save itself since during shock the blood pressure is too low to adequately perfuse central organs and can result in death. The therapeutic goal is to shunt blood from the peripheral to the central organs (heart, lung, brain). This medication is a last resort medication to help keep the central organs (e.g., heart, lungs, brain) p

  3. Increase perfusion to the urinary system
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because perfusion of the urinary system is not a priority during shock. Perfusion of the central organs (heart, lung, brain) is priority.

  4. Increase perfusion to gastrointestinal system
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because perfusion of the gastrointestinal system is not a priority during shock. Perfusion of the central organs (heart, lung, brain) is priority.

Overview

Norepinephrine is a hormone given to clients in septic shock as a vasopressor to cause peripheral constriction. This is needed to force blood to and perfuse the central organs (e.g., heart, lungs, brain).

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Norepinephrine is a potent alpha-adrenergic agonist. It is a “stress hormone” which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. This powerful vasopressor medication is used when the body is going through shock. The action of this medication causes peripheral vascular constriction to help the body save itself since during shock the blood pressure is too low to adequately perfuse central organs and can result in death. The therapeutic goal is to shunt blood from the peripheral to the central organs (heart, lung, brain). This medication is a last resort medication to help keep the central organs (e.g., heart, lungs, brain) perfused and working properly.

Test Taking Tip

Remember to always prioritize the airway, breathing, and circulation. Within circulation, prioritize the organs which keep the person alive, namely heart, lungs, and brain.

Video Rationale