Lewis – Chapter 44: Nursing Management: Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract Problems

1. A 24-year-old female contracts hepatitis from contaminated food. During the acute (icteric) phase of the patient’s illness, the nurse would expect serologic testing to reveal
a. antibody to hepatitis D (anti-HDV).
b. hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg).
c. anti-hepatitis A virus immunoglobulin G (anti-HAV IgG).
d. anti-hepatitis A virus immunoglobulin M (anti-HAV IgM).
Hepatitis A is transmitted through the oral-fecal route, and antibody to HAV IgM appears during the acute phase of hepatitis A. The patient would not have antigen for hepatitis B or antibody for hepatitis D. Anti-HAV IgG would indicate past infection and lifelong immunity.
2. Administration of hepatitis B vaccine to a healthy 18-year-old patient has been effective when a specimen of the patient’s blood reveals
a. HBsAg.
b. anti-HBs.
c. anti-HBc IgG.
d. anti-HBc IgM.
The presence of surface antibody to HBV (anti-HBs) is a marker of a positive response to the vaccine. The other laboratory values indicate current infection with HBV.
3. A 36-year-old male patient in the outpatient clinic is diagnosed with acute hepatitis C (HCV) infection. Which action by the nurse is appropriate?
a. Schedule the patient for HCV genotype testing.
b. Administer the HCV vaccine and immune globulin.
c. Teach the patient about ribavirin (Rebetol) treatment.
d. Explain that the infection will resolve over a few months.
Genotyping of HCV has an important role in managing treatment and is done before drug therapy is initiated. Because most patients with acute HCV infection convert to the chronic state, the nurse should not teach the patient that the HCV will resolve in a few months. Immune globulin or vaccine is not available for HCV. Ribavirin is used for chronic HCV infection.
4. The nurse will plan to teach the patient diagnosed with acute hepatitis B about
a. side effects of nucleotide analogs.
b. measures for improving the appetite.
c. ways to increase activity and exercise.
d. administering α-interferon (Intron A).
Maintaining adequate nutritional intake is important for regeneration of hepatocytes. Interferon and antivirals may be used for chronic hepatitis B, but they are not prescribed for acute hepatitis B infection. Rest is recommended.
5. The nurse administering α-interferon and ribavirin (Rebetol) to a patient with chronic hepatitis C will plan to monitor for
a. leukopenia.
b. hypokalemia.
c. polycythemia.
d. hypoglycemia.
Therapy with ribavirin and α-interferon may cause leukopenia. The other problems are not associated with this drug therapy.
6. Which information given by a 70-year-old patient during a health history indicates to the nurse that the patient should be screened for hepatitis C?
a. The patient had a blood transfusion in 2005.
b. The patient used IV drugs about 20 years ago.
c. The patient frequently eats in fast-food restaurants.
d. The patient traveled to a country with poor sanitation.
Any patient with a history of IV drug use should be tested for hepatitis C. Blood transfusions given after 1992 (when an antibody test for hepatitis C became available) do not pose a risk for hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is not spread by the oral-fecal route and therefore is not caused by contaminated food or by traveling in underdeveloped countries.
7. A 55-year-old patient admitted with an abrupt onset of jaundice and nausea has abnormal liver function studies but serologic testing is negative for viral causes of hepatitis. Which question by the nurse is most appropriate?
a. “Is there any history of IV drug use?”
b. “Do you use any over-the-counter drugs?”
c. “Are you taking corticosteroids for any reason?”
d. “Have you recently traveled to a foreign country?”
The patient’s symptoms, lack of antibodies for hepatitis, and the abrupt onset of symptoms suggest toxic hepatitis, which can be caused by commonly used over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Travel to a foreign country and a history of IV drug use are risk factors for viral hepatitis. Corticosteroid use does not cause the symptoms listed.
8. Which data will the nurse monitor in relation to the 4+ pitting edema assessed in a patient with cirrhosis?
a. Hemoglobin
b. Temperature
c. Activity level
d. Albumin level
The low oncotic pressure caused by hypoalbuminemia is a major pathophysiologic factor in the development of edema. The other parameters should also be monitored, but they are not directly associated with the patient’s current symptoms.
9. Which topic is most important to include in patient teaching for a 41-year-old patient diagnosed with early alcoholic cirrhosis?
a. Maintaining good nutrition
b. Avoiding alcohol ingestion
c. Taking lactulose (Cephulac)
d. Using vitamin B supplements
The disease progression can be stopped or reversed by alcohol abstinence. The other interventions may be used when cirrhosis becomes more severe to decrease symptoms or complications, but the priority for this patient is to stop the progression of the disease.
10. A serum potassium level of 3.2 mEq/L (3.2 mmol/L) is reported for a patient with cirrhosis who has scheduled doses of spironolactone (Aldactone) and furosemide (Lasix). due. Which action should the nurse take?
a. Administer both drugs.
b. Administer the spironolactone.
c. Withhold the spironolactone and administer the furosemide.
d. Withhold both drugs until discussed with the health care provider.
Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic and will help increase the patient’s potassium level. The nurse does not need to talk with the doctor before giving the spironolactone, although the health care provider should be notified about the low potassium value. The furosemide will further decrease the patient’s potassium level and should be held until the nurse talks with the health care provider.
11. Which action should the nurse take to evaluate treatment effectiveness for a patient who has hepatic encephalopathy?
a. Request that the patient stand on one foot.
b. Ask the patient to extend both arms forward.
c. Request that the patient walk with eyes closed.
d. Ask the patient to perform the Valsalva maneuver.
Extending the arms allows the nurse to check for asterixis, a classic sign of hepatic encephalopathy. The other tests might also be done as part of the neurologic assessment but would not be diagnostic for hepatic encephalopathy.
12. Which finding indicates to the nurse that lactulose (Cephulac) is effective for a 72-year-old man who has advanced cirrhosis?
a. The patient is alert and oriented.
b. The patient denies nausea or anorexia.
c. The patient’s bilirubin level decreases.
d. The patient has at least one stool daily.
The purpose of lactulose in the patient with cirrhosis is to lower ammonia levels and prevent encephalopathy. Although lactulose may be used to treat constipation, that is not the purpose for this patient. Lactulose will not decrease nausea and vomiting or lower bilirubin levels.
13. A 53-year-old patient is being treated for bleeding esophageal varices with balloon tamponade. Which nursing action will be included in the plan of care?
a. Instruct the patient to cough every hour.
b. Monitor the patient for shortness of breath.
c. Verify the position of the balloon every 4 hours.
d. Deflate the gastric balloon if the patient reports nausea.
The most common complication of balloon tamponade is aspiration pneumonia. In addition, if the gastric balloon ruptures, the esophageal balloon may slip upward and occlude the airway. Coughing increases the pressure on the varices and increases the risk for bleeding. Balloon position is verified after insertion and does not require further verification. The esophageal balloon is deflated every 8 to 12 hours to avoid necrosis, but if the gastric balloon is deflated, the esophageal balloon may occlude the airway.
14. To detect possible complications in a patient with severe cirrhosis who has bleeding esophageal varices, it is most important for the nurse to monitor
a. bilirubin levels.
b. ammonia levels.
c. potassium levels.
d. prothrombin time.
The protein in the blood in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract will be absorbed and may result in an increase in the ammonia level because the liver cannot metabolize protein very well. The prothrombin time, bilirubin, and potassium levels should also be monitored, but they will not be affected by the bleeding episode.
15. A 38-year-old patient with cirrhosis has ascites and 4+ edema of the feet and legs. Which nursing action will be included in the plan of care?
a. Restrict daily dietary protein intake.
b. Reposition the patient every 4 hours.
c. Place the patient on a pressure-relieving mattress.
d. Perform passive range of motion daily.
The pressure-relieving mattress will decrease the risk for skin breakdown for this patient. Adequate dietary protein intake is necessary in patients with ascites to improve oncotic pressure. Repositioning the patient every 4 hours will not be adequate to maintain skin integrity. Passive range of motion will not take the pressure off areas such as the sacrum that are vulnerable to breakdown.
16. Which finding indicates to the nurse that a patient’s transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placed 3 months ago has been effective?
a. Increased serum albumin level
b. Decreased indirect bilirubin level
c. Improved alertness and orientation
d. Fewer episodes of bleeding varices
TIPS is used to lower pressure in the portal venous system and decrease the risk of bleeding from esophageal varices. Indirect bilirubin level and serum albumin levels are not affected by shunting procedures. TIPS will increase the risk for hepatic encephalopathy.
17. To prepare a 56-year-old male patient with ascites for paracentesis, the nurse
a. places the patient on NPO status.
b. assists the patient to lie flat in bed.
c. asks the patient to empty the bladder.
d. positions the patient on the right side.
The patient should empty the bladder to decrease the risk of bladder perforation during the procedure. The patient would be positioned in Fowler’s position and would not be able to lie flat without compromising breathing. Because no sedation is required for paracentesis, the patient does not need to be NPO.
18. Which finding is most important for the nurse to communicate to the health care provider about a patient who received a liver transplant 1 week ago?
a. Dry palpebral and oral mucosa
b. Crackles at bilateral lung bases
c. Temperature 100.8° F (38.2° C)
d. No bowel movement for 4 days
The risk of infection is high in the first few months after liver transplant and fever is frequently the only sign of infection. The other patient data indicate the need for further assessment or nursing actions and might be communicated to the health care provider, but they do not indicate a need for urgent action.
24. The nurse is caring for a 73-year-old man who has cirrhosis. Which data obtained by the nurse during the assessment will be of most concern?
a. The patient complains of right upper-quadrant pain with palpation.
b. The patient’s hands flap back and forth when the arms are extended.
c. The patient has ascites and a 2-kg weight gain from the previous day.
d. The patient’s skin has multiple spider-shaped blood vessels on the abdomen.
Asterixis indicates that the patient has hepatic encephalopathy, and hepatic coma may occur. The spider angiomas and right upper quadrant abdominal pain are not unusual for the patient with cirrhosis and do not require a change in treatment. The ascites and weight gain indicate the need for treatment but not as urgently as the changes in neurologic status.
25. A 49-year-old female patient with cirrhosis and esophageal varices has a new prescription for propranolol (Inderal). Which finding is the best indicator that the medication has been effective?
a. The patient reports no chest pain.
b. Blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg.
c. Stools test negative for occult blood.
d. The apical pulse rate is 68 beats/minute.
Because the purpose of β-blocker therapy for patients with esophageal varices is to decrease the risk for bleeding from esophageal varices, the best indicator of the effectiveness for propranolol is the lack of blood in the stools. Although propranolol is used to treat hypertension, angina, and tachycardia, the purpose for use in this patient is to decrease the risk for bleeding from esophageal varices.
26. Which response by the nurse best explains the purpose of ranitidine (Zantac) for a patient admitted with bleeding esophageal varices?
a. The medication will reduce the risk for aspiration.
b. The medication will inhibit development of gastric ulcers.
c. The medication will prevent irritation of the enlarged veins.
d. The medication will decrease nausea and improve the appetite.
Esophageal varices are dilated submucosal veins. The therapeutic action of H2-receptor blockers in patients with esophageal varices is to prevent irritation and bleeding from the varices caused by reflux of acid gastric contents. Although ranitidine does decrease the risk for peptic ulcers, reduce nausea, and help prevent aspiration pneumonia, these are not the primary purposes for H2-receptor blockade in this patient.
30. Which action will be included in the care for a patient who has recently been diagnosed with asymptomatic nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
a. Teach symptoms of variceal bleeding.
b. Draw blood for hepatitis serology testing.
c. Discuss the need to increase caloric intake.
d. Review the patient’s current medication list.
Some medications can increase the risk for NAFLD, and they should be eliminated. NAFLD is not associated with hepatitis, weight loss is usually indicated, and variceal bleeding would not be a concern in a patient with asymptomatic NAFLD.
31. A 34-year old patient with chronic hepatitis C infection has several medications prescribed. Which medication requires further discussion with the health care provider before administration?
a. Ribavirin (Rebetol, Copegus) 600 mg PO bid
b. Pegylated α-interferon (PEG-Intron, Pegasys) SQ daily
c. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25 mg PO every 4 hours PRN itching
d. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) 50 mg PO every 6 hours PRN nausea
Pegylated α-interferon is administered weekly. The other medications are appropriate for a patient with chronic hepatitis C infection.
32. During change-of-shift report, the nurse learns about the following four patients. Which patient requires assessment first?
a. 40-year-old with chronic pancreatitis who has gnawing abdominal pain
b. 58-year-old who has compensated cirrhosis and is complaining of anorexia
c. 55-year-old with cirrhosis and ascites who has an oral temperature of 102° F (38.8° C)
d. 36-year-old recovering from a laparoscopic cholecystectomy who has severe shoulder pain
This patient’s history and fever suggest possible spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, which would require rapid assessment and interventions such as antibiotic therapy. The clinical manifestations for the other patients are consistent with their diagnoses and do not indicate complications are occurring.
33. Which goal has the highest priority in the plan of care for a 26-year-old homeless patient admitted with viral hepatitis who has severe anorexia and fatigue?
a. Increase activity level.
b. Maintain adequate nutrition.
c. Establish a stable environment.
d. Identify sources of hepatitis exposure.
The highest priority outcome is to maintain nutrition because adequate nutrition is needed for hepatocyte regeneration. Finding a home for the patient and identifying the source of the infection would be appropriate activities, but they do not have as high a priority as ensuring adequate nutrition. Although the patient’s activity level will be gradually increased, rest is indicated during the acute phase of hepatitis.
34. Which action should the nurse in the emergency department take first for a new patient who is vomiting blood?
a. Insert a large-gauge IV catheter.
b. Draw blood for coagulation studies.
c. Check blood pressure (BP), heart rate, and respirations.
d. Place the patient in the supine position.
The nurse’s first action should be to determine the patient’s hemodynamic status by assessing vital signs. Drawing blood for coagulation studies and inserting an IV catheter are also appropriate. However, the vital signs may indicate the need for more urgent actions. Because aspiration is a concern for this patient, the nurse will need to assess the patient’s vital signs and neurologic status before placing the patient in a supine position.
39. For a patient with cirrhosis, which of the following nursing actions can the registered nurse (RN) delegate to unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP)?
a. Assessing the patient for jaundice
b. Providing oral hygiene after a meal
c. Palpating the abdomen for distention
d. Assisting the patient to choose the diet
Providing oral hygiene is within the scope of UAP. Assessments and assisting patients to choose therapeutic diets are nursing actions that require higher-level nursing education and scope of practice and would be delegated to licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs) or RNs.
40. Which action will the nurse include in the plan of care for a patient who has been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B?
a. Advise limiting alcohol intake to 1 drink daily.
b. Schedule for liver cancer screening every 6 months.
c. Initiate administration of the hepatitis C vaccine series.
d. Monitor anti-hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) levels annually.
Patients with chronic hepatitis are at higher risk for development of liver cancer, and should be screened for liver cancer every 6 to 12 months. Patients with chronic hepatitis are advised to completely avoid alcohol. There is no hepatitis C vaccine. Because anti-HBs is present whenever there has been a past hepatitis B infection or vaccination, there is no need to regularly monitor for this antibody.
41. A patient born in 1955 had hepatitis A infection 1 year ago. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which action should the nurse include in care when the patient is seen for a routine annual physical exam?
a. Start the hepatitis B immunization series.
b. Teach the patient about hepatitis A immune globulin.
c. Ask whether the patient has been screened for hepatitis C.
d. Test for anti-hepatitis-A virus immune globulin M (anti-HAV-IgM).
Current CDC guidelines indicate that all patients who were born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened for hepatitis C because many individuals who are positive have not been diagnosed. Although routine hepatitis B immunization is recommended for infants, children, and adolescents, vaccination for hepatitis B is recommended only for adults at risk for blood-borne infections. Because the patient has already had hepatitis A, immunization and anti-HAV IgM levels will not be needed.
42. A 23-year-old has been admitted with acute liver failure. Which assessment data are most important for the nurse to communicate to the health care provider?
a. Asterixis and lethargy
b. Jaundiced sclera and skin
c. Elevated total bilirubin level
d. Liver 3 cm below costal margin
The patient’s findings of asterixis and lethargy are consistent with grade 2 hepatic encephalopathy. Patients with acute liver failure can deteriorate rapidly from grade 1 or 2 to grade 3 or 4 hepatic encephalopathy and need early transfer to a transplant center. The other findings are typical of patients with hepatic failure and would be reported but would not indicate a need for an immediate change in the therapeutic plan.
43. A 36-year-old female patient is receiving treatment for chronic hepatitis C with pegylated interferon (PEG-Intron, Pegasys), ribavirin (Rebetol), and telaprevir (Incivek). Which finding is most important to communicate to the health care provider?
a. Weight loss of 2 lb (1 kg)
b. Positive urine pregnancy test
c. Hemoglobin level of 10.4 g/dL
d. Complaints of nausea and anorexia
Because ribavirin is teratogenic, the medication will need to be discontinued immediately. Anemia, weight loss, and nausea are common adverse effects of the prescribed regimen and may require actions such as patient teaching, but they would not require immediate cessation of the therapy.
44. A nurse is considering which patient to admit to the same room as a patient who had a liver transplant 3 weeks ago and is now hospitalized with acute rejection. Which patient would be the best choice?
a. Patient who is receiving chemotherapy for liver cancer
b. Patient who is receiving treatment for acute hepatitis C
c. Patient who has a wound infection after cholecystectomy
d. Patient who requires pain management for chronic pancreatitis
The patient with chronic pancreatitis does not present an infection risk to the immunosuppressed patient who had a liver transplant. The other patients either are at risk for infection or currently have an infection, which will place the immunosuppressed patient at risk for infection.
46. After an unimmunized individual is exposed to hepatitis B through a needle-stick injury, which actions will the nurse plan to take (select all that apply)?
a. Administer hepatitis B vaccine.
b. Test for antibodies to hepatitis B.
c. Teach about α-interferon therapy.
d. Give hepatitis B immune globulin.
e. Teach about choices for oral antiviral therapy.
ANS: A, B, D
The recommendations for hepatitis B exposure include both vaccination and immune globulin administration. In addition, baseline testing for hepatitis B antibodies will be needed. Interferon and oral antivirals are not used for hepatitis B prophylaxis.