CH is a sixty-three-year-old man who has had emphysema problems for many years. History: He smoked for twenty years before quitting.
The nurse meets CH for the first time. In performing a physical assessment, the healthcare provider would expect CH to have a “barrel” configuration to the chest. What is the underlying pathological process that contributed to the “barrel” chest configuration?
Lab values were drawn during the last physician visit; would you expect arterial gases to be normal or abnormal? Identify the pathological process involved in your response. CH and other patients with emphysema are at risk for what complications because of the pathologic process of their disease?
Expert Solution Preview
Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) characterized by the destruction and enlargement of the air sacs in the lungs. Patients with emphysema often face challenges with breathing and experience shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. In this assignment, we will discuss the pathological process underlying the characteristic “barrel” chest configuration in patients with emphysema and the complications associated with the disease.
“Barrel” chest configuration is a characteristic sign of patients with emphysema. The underlying pathological process that contributes to this configuration is the loss of elasticity of the lung tissue, which leads to air trapping in the lungs. The lungs become hyperinflated, and the chest becomes expanded in all directions, resulting in the barrel-shaped appearance.
In patients with emphysema, arterial gases are expected to be abnormal. The disease’s pathological process leads to an insufficient exchange of gases, and CO2 retention is common. This results in increased levels of carbon dioxide and decreased levels of oxygen in the blood.
Patients with emphysema are at risk for several complications because of the pathologic process of the disease. The most common complications include respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension, and respiratory infections. Patients may also experience exacerbations of the disease, which can be life-threatening.
In conclusion, emphysema is a serious lung disease that requires prompt diagnosis and management to prevent complications. The pathological process underlying the “barrel” chest configuration, abnormal arterial gases, and the risk of complications in patients with emphysema should be thoroughly understood by medical students.