Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping Assignment

Week 7 Discussion: Assessing the Abdomen

Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping – A woman went to the emergency room for severe abdominal cramping. She was diagnosed with diverticulitis; however, as a precaution, the doctor ordered a CAT scan. The CAT scan revealed a growth on the pancreas, which turned out to be pancreatic cancer—the real cause of the cramping.

Because of a high potential for misdiagnosis, determining the precise cause of abdominal pain can be time-consuming and challenging. By analyzing case studies of abnormal abdominal findings, nurses can prepare themselves to better diagnose conditions in the abdomen.

In this Discussion, you will consider case studies that describe abnormal findings in patients seen in a clinical setting. You will consider what history should be collected from the patients, as well as which physical exams and diagnostic tests should be conducted. You will also formulate a differential diagnosis with several possible conditions.

Note: By Day 1 of this week, your Instructor will have assigned you to one of the following specific case studies for this Discussion. Also, your Discussion post should be in the SOAP Note format, rather than the traditional narrative style Discussion posting format. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Comprehensive SOAP Template in the Week 4 Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that not all comprehensive SOAP data are included in every patient case.

Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping Case 1: Abdominal Pain

A 12-year-old female complains of malaise with abdominal pain pointing to the right lower quadrant. The patient has been vomiting and feeling nauseated for several days. The abdominal pain has been insidious and now is more pronounced. Both parents are with the child and are concerned because she has not been eating and has had a fever for the past 3 evenings.

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Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping Case 2: Gastrointestinal Pain

A 50-year-old male complains of burning pain starting at the abdomen and rising to the middle of his chest. He describes the pain as a gnawing feeling that begins after meals, especially when lying down.

Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping Case 3: Nausea and Vomiting

A 20-year-old female complains of nausea and has vomited three times over the past 48 hours. The patient also experienced a low-grade fever this morning. She states that she recently ate shellfish at a new restaurant with two friends who are suffering from similar symptoms.

To prepare for Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping:

With regard to the case study you were assigned:

  1. Review this week’s Learning Resources, and consider the insights they provide about the case study.
  2. Consider what history would be necessary to collect from the patient in the case study you were assigned.
  3. Consider what physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate to gather more information about the patient’s condition. How would the results be used to make a diagnosis?
  4. Identify at least five possible conditions that may be considered in a differential diagnosis for the patient.

Note: Before you submit your initial post, replace the subject line (“Week 7 Discussion”) with “Review of Case Study ___.” Fill in the blank with the number of the case study you were assigned.

By Day 3 of Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping

Post a description of the health history you would need to collect from the patient in the case study to which you were assigned. Explain which physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate and how the results would be used to make a diagnosis. List five different possible conditions for the patient’s differential diagnosis, and justify why you selected each.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6 of Evaluating the Abdomen for Cramping

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days who were assigned different case studies than you. Analyze the possible conditions from your colleagues’ differential diagnoses. Determine which of the conditions you would reject, and why. Identify the most likely condition, and justify your reasoning.