Module 2 Assignment Case Study Analysis

Module 2 Assignment Case Study Analysis

To prepare:

By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific case study scenario for this Case Study Assignment. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor.

Assignment (1- to 2-page case study analysis)

In your Case Study Analysis related to the scenario provided, explain the following

  • The cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary pathophysiologic processes that result in the patient presenting these symptoms.
  • Any racial/ethnic variables that may impact physiological functioning.
  • How these processes interact to affect the patient.

By Day 7 of Week 4

Submit your Case Study Analysis Assignment by Day 7 of Week 4

Reminder: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The sample paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting.

Case Study Analysis

The assigned case study demonstrates a middle age female patient with chief complaints of dyspnea, fever, and cough with thick green sputum production for 3 days. The patient also has a history of COPD and chronic cough, which has gotten worse over the past few days affecting her sleep. Upon examination, it was noted that the patient’s diaphragm had flattened, AP diameter increased, hyper resonance on auscultation with rhonchi, and coarse rales throughout all lung fields. The purpose of this discussion is to provide an analysis of the patient described above and the cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary pathophysiologic processes that contributed to the patient’s symptoms.

Pathophysiologic Processes

The patient presents with a history of COPD and chronic cough with thick green sputum. The current symptoms of dyspnea, cough, and fever indicate exacerbation of COPD with complications of a respiratory infection (Hikichi et al., 2018). The patient’s shortness of breath resulted from the obstructed airways secondary to inflammation, sputum hypersecretion, and airway remodeling. Reduced elastic recoil of the lung caused by emphysema and airway obstruction leads to dynamic hyperinflation and incomplete air expelling (Santus et al., 2019). Accumulation of the mucus leads to coughing by the patient as an attempt to try and clear the airways. The increased production of thick green sputum and fever are signs of bacterial infection in COPD exacerbation.

Racial/Ethnic Variables

            There is limited evidence on the racial/ethnic variables in the characteristics and progress of COPD. Non-Hispanic whites have however been reported to have the highest burden associated with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and cardiovascular diseases as comorbidities of COPD (Park et al., 2021). African Americans on the other hand, have reported the highest incidences of dyspnea due to lifestyle habits like smoking and reduced exercise capacity (Lee et al., 2018). Korean patients on the other hand were more likely to be underweight as compared to other ethnic groups, hence reduced COPD symptoms and complications (D’Cruz et al., 2020). Generally, the ethnic variables in COPD are due to sociodemographic differences in lifestyle habits, education, and cultural beliefs among other factors.

How Process interact to Affect the Patient

As discussed above, the pathophysiology of COPD involves the interaction of both cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary processes. Impairments in the cardiopulmonary functioning leading to COPD are associated with several risk factors including smoking, exposure to chemicals, race, age, and history of asthma (Hikichi et al., 2018). Such risk factors contribute to pathologic changes in the small (peripheral) bronchioles, large (central) airways, and lung parenchyma. Structural changes of the airways include ciliary abnormalities, focal squamous metaplasia, atrophy, inflammation, airway smooth muscle hyperplasia, and bronchial wall thickening leading to chronic bronchitis (Santus et al., 2019). Permanent enlargement of the airspaces from the distal to the terminal bronchioles also leads to a significant decline in the surface area of the alveoli available for gas exchange causing emphysema. The above mechanisms contribute to the patient’s symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, increased sputum production, and fever.


The middle-aged patient in the provided case study presents with symptoms indicating COPD exacerbation. Several cardiopulmonary processes contribute to the development of the patient’s condition such as the small (peripheral) bronchioles, large (central) airways, and the lung parenchyma. However, with a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology of the patient’s condition, it will be easier for the clinician to develop the most effective treatment plan.




D’Cruz, R. F., Murphy, P. B., & Kaltsakas, G. (2020). Sleep-disordered breathing and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a narrative review on classification, pathophysiology and clinical outcomes. Journal of Thoracic Disease12(S2), S202–S216.

Hikichi, M., Hashimoto, S., & Gon, Y. (2018). Asthma and COPD overlap the pathophysiology of ACO. Allergology International67(2), 179–186.

Lee, H., Shin, S. H., Gu, S., Zhao, D., Kang, D., Joi, Y. R., Suh, G. Y., Pastor-Barriuso, R., Guallar, E., Cho, J., & Park, H. Y. (2018). Racial differences in comorbidity profile among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BMC Medicine16(1).

Park, H. Y., Lee, H., Kang, D., Choi, H. S., Ryu, Y. H., Jung, K.-S., Sin, D. D., Cho, J., & Yoo, K. H. (2021). Understanding racial differences of COPD patients with an ecological model: two large cohort studies in the US and Korea. Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease12, 204062232098245.

Santus, P., Pecchiari, M., Tursi, F., Valenti, V., Saad, M., & Radovanovic, D. (2019). The Airways’ Mechanical Stress in Lung Disease: Implications for COPD Pathophysiology and Treatment Evaluation. Canadian Respiratory Journal.