Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) Flashcards Preview

SEMESTER FOUR!! Nursing 214 > Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) > Flashcards

Flashcards in Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) Deck (23):

What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?

  • temporary focal loss of neurological function
  • temporary loss in vision, change in speech, unilateral motor and/or sensory symptoms
  • symptoms last up to 24 hours (average is 15 minutes to 3 hours)
  • no lasting effects


What is an ischemic stroke?

85% of all strokes


  1. caused by atheromatous plaques that occlude cerebral arteries
  2. narrowing of artery with fat deposits; build up enough to cause a blockage
  3. TIA in 30-50% of causes; occur during of after sleep
  4. develops slowly over time; symptoms get worse with progression


  1. dislodged thrombi (emboli) that occludes cerebral arteries
  2. TIA is uncommon; sudden onset, no relationship to activity
  3. recurrence is common if underlying disease is untreated


  1. cerebral arterial wall rupture; bleed in brain tissue, ventricles, or subarachnoid space
  2. associated with severe headache before stroke. No TPA if hemorrhagic stroke


What are the managment recommendations for ischemic stroke?

  1. Treat the CVA as an emergency. Call 911, NOT MD when symptoms are first noticed.
  2. Change name to BRAIN ATTACK so people will associate it with an emergency
  3. Treatment with thrombolytic agent tPA, must be started within THREE HOURS of onset of symptoms (may be as long as 6 hours for ischemic CVA only). TPA leads to fewer deaths and fewer disabilities.





What are symptoms of an ischemic stroke?

Symptoms include change in mental status, LOC, abnormal speech, facial droop, UE or LE weakness on same side of the body



What do you do in the first ten minutes with a stroke patient?

  1. Assess ABCs (airway first)
  2. Maintain NPO (risk for aspiration until swallow eval
  3. provide O2, insert 2 large bore IV lines, infuse at 0.9% NS
  4. draw labs/BG - stroke or are they hypoglycemic?
  5. 12 lead EKG, complete neuro assessment (baseline)
  6. alert stroke team with time of arrival


What do you do within the first 25 minutes with a stroke patient?

  1. review medical/nursing history
  2. establish time of stroke onset
  3. GCS, NIHSS (more specific)
  4. complete physical assessment
  5. STAT non-contrast CT read within 45 minutes of arrival to ED


What are the three causes of stroke?





What are modifiable risk factors for stroke?

  1. Smoking
  2. Obesity
  3. Inactivity
  4. Poor diet
  5. Hyperlipidemia
  6. Elicit drug use
  7. Sickle cell crisis
  8. Meds (birth control, NSAIDs, anti-coagulants)
  9. Alcohol intake


What are non-modifiable risk factors for stroke?

  1. age risk doubles each decade after age 55
  2. family history
  3. genders equal, but women more likely to die
  4. race: africian american males, hispanic, asian/indian american


What are the diagnostic studeis for stroke?

PT/INR, CBC (esp hct, hgb, platelets), BG/chem 8 to rule out hypoglycemia and electrolyte imbalances. CT non-contrast scan or cerebral angiogram.


What does the location of stroke have to do with the effect on the body?

  1. Symptoms above nose: same side of the brain
  2. Symptoms below nose: opposite side of the brain
  3. Symptoms are contra lateral to lesion in the brain


What are the TNIs in the acute phase of stroke?

prevent secondary brain injury by providing general body system support and preventing complications. rehabilitation begins upon admission. first hours: assess neurological status


Risk for altered tissue perfusion

maintain BP and CPP WNL without increased ICP, provide fluids, monitor I/O. Goal: BP high enough to keep CPP normal



patient has risk of DVTs (check Homan's sign) and PE. Prevention: SCD/TEDs, promote hydration, monitor I/O, encourage ambulation/ROM as appropriate.


Risk for injury

initially, muscles on the affected side are flaccid but within a few days they become spastic (increased muscle tone). TNIs:

  1. pt. positioning in bed can prevent contractures/long-term complications
  2. Intermittent use of splinets may be needed
  3. risk for shoulder subluxation - don't pull pt. up by arms for position changes. In bed, support affected arm on pillow. In sitting position, firm surface to support the affected arm


Risk for Aspiration

assess swallowing ability, conservation of energy, modified diet, positioning upright during and after meals. TNIs to prevent aspiration:

  1. check placement and control of food in mouth
  2. rest before all meals (common risk factor for aspiration is fatigue)
  3. have patient concentrate on chewing and swallowing
  4. HOB up 90 degrees or upright in chair, upright position for 30-45 minutes after meals
  5. May need to add salt/sugar (makes food easier to swallow)
  6. avoid peanut butter (sticky) and milk products (increase secretions)
  7. put food on unaffected side of mouth; teach pt how to do mouth sweep
  8. liquids can be dangerous (increased risk of aspiration), NO STRAWS
  9. aspiration precautions sign at HOB
  10. visual field deficit may become obvious during mealtime; the RN should teach the client to scan the environment


Impaired Verbal Communication

  1. expressive aphasia: can't produce speech but can understand speech
  2. receptive speech: can't understand speech
  3. global aphasia: can't produce or understand speech


  1. speak clearly in a normal tone of voice
  2. consider alternate means of communication (ie hand squeezes); speech consult
  3. simple communication: yes or no questions or one word answers; one thought at a time
  4. decrease environmental stimulation
  5. give them time to try to express themselves
  6. use gestures/demonstrations
  7. don't pretend you understand if you don't
  8. make sure they're well rested - anxiety and fatigue will worsen aphasia


Self-care deficit

Focus on compensation for deficits with use of adaptive equipment; collaborate with PT and OT.


  1. with visual field deficit: teach pt. to scan the environment
  2. approach patient from the unaffected side first
  3. keep room uncluttered
  4. keep things where they can reach they and don't move them
  5. rehab phase: place objects for ADLs on affected side; pt will learn to scan environment


Impaired mobility

deficits range from weakness to hemi- or tetraplegia. Start with sitting balance then bed to chair/commode followed by walking, first with assistance then more independently.


  1. ROM: passive, active, and assisted
  2. positioning: use lift sheet for boosts, don't pull up underarms
  3. splints to avoid contractures; boot instead of footboard to prevent footdrop
  4. trocanter rolls to prevent external rotation of hips
  5. before getting client OOB, assess strength, ability to follow commands, BP, and LOC; use lifts to get patient back into bed if exhausted (put sling in the chair first); position patients with pillows in chair


Urinary incontinence

urge incontinence is common and so is uninhibited neurogenic bladder so that incontinence occurs as soon as urge is received by the brain (hyperactive detrusor muscle)


  1. plan scheduled voids to empty bladder before it gets full enough to stimulate urge
  2. monitor fluid intake, limit fluids at night
  3. intermittent catheterization can be used for patients who can't void or have high residuals
  4. every effort should be made to avoid indwelling catheters
  5. bladder scanner for post-void residual
  6. urinary/bladder regimen
  7. clothes that are easy to remove and pull back up


Bowel incontinence

less common but constipation occurs due to a decrease in food and fluid intake as well as immobility. Use bedside commode and/or raised toilet seat


Discharge plans

include a prescription for new onset a-fib to decrease risk of another stroke. patient will go to a stroke rehab facility first and then will probably be discharged to home



What are the TNIs for intracerebral hemorrhage?

  1. bed rest, quiet room, HOB 0-10 degrees to decrease ICP
  2. limit activities that can increase ICP (ie. suction only when needed, space out activities)
  3. same surgical TNIs if client had cranial surgery

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