NRS 410 Case Study: Mrs. J.

NRS 410 Case Study: Mrs. J.

Case Study: Mrs. J

            The case scenario discussed is of 63-year-old Mrs. J who has been in care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart failure (CHF) and is now admitted due to their exacerbations. She reports a history of cigarette smoking, hypertension, poor compliance to medication, and a recent upper airway tract infection. This discussion aims to describe how she was managed, the reasons for exacerbation, and patient management plans.

Mrs. J. is a 63-year-old married woman who has a history of hypertension, chronic heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Despite requiring 2L of oxygen/nasal cannula at home during activity, she continues to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and has done so for 40 years. Three days ago, she had sudden onset of flu-like symptoms including fever, productive cough, nausea, and malaise. Over the past 3 days, she has been unable to perform ADLs and has required assistance in walking short distances. She has not taken her antihypertensive medications or medications to control her heart failure for 3 days. Today, she has been admitted to the hospital ICU with acute decompensated heart failure and acute exacerbation of COPD.

Question 1

NRS 410 Case Study Mrs J

NRS 410 Case Study Mrs J

COPD that Mrs. J is characterized by an inflamed airway that impairs expiration of gases thus presenting with dyspnea. The limited expiration results in the accumulation of carbon (IV) oxide in the body which triggers anxiety (Choi & Rhee, 2020). On the other hand, CHF reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood thus irregular heartbeat occurs described as the heart running away (Schwinger, 2021). It also presents with fatigue due to impaired blood supply to the body tissues (Hajar, 2019).

Question 2

            Medications that have been administered to manage Mrs. J can be justified due to their effects. Furosemide and enalapril work through a different mechanisms of action to reduce the decompensation of the heart in CHF (Hajar, 2019). Although furosemide encourages diuresis by inhibiting the reabsorption of sodium in kidney tubules whereas enalapril inhibits the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), they both lead to a decrease in preload and afterload (Lee et al., 2019). This reduces pressure against the heart and also corrects the reported edema especially due to furosemide use.

Metoprolol that was prescribed regulates the sympathetic system activation in heart failure thereby reducing the cardiac contractility and heart rate (Hajar, 2019). As such, it corrects the reported palpitations. Further, the inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids correct the bronchoconstriction due to COPD thus promoting expiration whereas morphine helped in reducing anxiety symptoms (Lief & McSparron, 2020). Due to Mrs. J’s low oxygen saturation, oxygen supplementation was also necessary to reverse the hypercapnia and promote oxygen delivery to tissues (Choi & Rhee, 2020). The prescribed drugs were therefore justified and appropriate for managing the exacerbations.

Question 3

            CHF results from most heart conditions whether they affect the valves, heart muscles, or the electrical conduction pathways. Some of these conditions include cardiomyopathy, valvular defects, coronary artery disease (CAD), and arrhythmias. Cardiomyopathy is where there is damage to the myocardium due to a myriad of factors including alcohol use and it consequently impairs the heart’s ability to pump blood (Hajar, 2019). Valvular defects whether resulting from infection of the valves, stenosis, or regurgitation are also implicated (Lee et al., 2019). CAD where there are narrowed coronary artery vessels with consequential cardiac ischemia as well as arrhythmias where the is uncoordinated heart beating such as atrial fibrillation are other risk factors for CHF (Schwinger, 2021). Most of these conditions can be prevented from resulting in CHF.

Different nursing interventions can help in preventing CHF from these cardiac conditions. Such measures include the adoption of physical exercise and dietary modification for CAD, reduced alcohol consumption for cardiomyopathy, and aggressive antibiotic therapy to prevent the advancement of valvular infection into CHF (Lee et al., 2019). Non-pharmacological vagal maneuvers may be applied to correct arrhythmias.

Question 4

            Nurses play important roles in preventing adverse reactions to polypharmacy. They achieve this through education, instruction, information, and organization. Education involves highlighting the presentation of adverse reactions and warning the patient about drugs or food that possibly interact with their prescribed medications (Zabihi et al., 2018). By instruction, adherence to therapy is emphasized to prevent incidences of overdose which is an adverse reaction. During instruction, the nurse directs the patient to reliable sources of medicine to ensure continuity of therapy (Lief & McSparron, 2020). On the other hand, the organization is done by arranging the drug into daily pill packs that promote adherence and discourages overdose.

Question 5

            Health promotion in a patient with COPD and CHF will aim at reducing readmission rates and facilitating recovery. To reduce the readmissions, the risk factors of exacerbation such as unhealthy diet, cigarette smoking, and obesity should be addressed. Mrs. J will therefore be encouraged to reduce her weight, adopt the DASH diet, and also engage in physical activity (Hajar, 2019). She will also be advised against cigarette smoking which may worsen COPD. In the promotion of her recovery, the patient will benefit from a multidisciplinary team comprised of pulmonologists and cardiologists who will educate her on pulmonary physiotherapy, cardiac rehabilitation, and adherence to medication (Schwinger, 2021). Homebased care can also be adopted to promote her well-being at home. These measures will enhance recovery and reduce the risks of readmission.

Question 6

Mrs. J is a geriatric patient who will benefit from proper education on her condition. Given most geriatric patients have poor literacy that may enable the comprehension of complex medical information during education, an effective education would involve the use of diagrams and charts for illustrations (Lee et al., 2019). This not only promotes comprehension but also encourages memorability. Adoption of family education can also be encouraged to promote the involvement of family members in patient care (Toledano-Toledano & Luna, 2020).

Question 7

            Some of the factors that may have exacerbated the COPD in this patient would include the history of cigarette smoking and the recent flu-like illness that is reported. These triggers cause airway hyperresponsive and worsen bronchoconstriction, especially in COPD and asthma patients (Lief & McSparron, 2020). Other possible causes of the exacerbation may include exposure to cold, air pollution, and non-adherence to medications. Smoke cessation would therefore be encouraged for patients with COPD who smoke a cigarette. The options to encourage cessation of smoking include nicotine replacement therapy, use of bupropion, as well as psychotherapy such as group therapy (Choi & Rhee, 2020). These methods help in reducing cravings for smoking thus promoting recovery.


            Chronic illnesses such as COPD and CHF have underlying organ dysfunctions that are responsible for their presentation. Understanding these dysfunctions as well as their causes and triggers helps in the formulation of effective strategies for managing patients against these conditions. The use of medications should be aimed at addressing the dysfunction or patient symptoms. In the course of treatment, adherence to therapy should be encouraged as the incidences of adverse drug reactions are reduced. Further, the specific risk factors of the conditions should also be addressed by encouraging health promotion strategies such as a healthy diet, smoke cessation, and physical exercise. This would reduce incidences of readmission for these patients and promote patient recovery.


Choi, J. Y., & Rhee, C. K. (2020). Diagnosis and treatment of early chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). Journal of Clinical Medicine9(11), 3426.

Hajar, R. (2019). Congestive heart failure: A history. Heart Views: The Official Journal of the Gulf Heart Association20(3), 129–132.

Lee, J. H., Kim, M. S., Yoo, B. S., Park, S. J., Park, J. J., Shin, M. S., Youn, J. C., Lee, S. E., Jang, S. Y., Choi, S., Cho, H. J., Kang, S. M., & Choi, D. J. (2019). KSHF guidelines for the management of acute heart failure: Part II. Treatment of acute heart failure. Korean Circulation Journal49(1), 22–45.

Lief, L., & McSparron, J. (2020). Acute Exacerbation of COPD. In Evidence-Based Critical Care (pp. 169–173). Springer International Publishing.

Schwinger, R. H. G. (2021). Pathophysiology of heart failure. Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy11(1), 263–276.

Toledano-Toledano, F., & Luna, D. (2020). The psychosocial profile of family caregivers of children with chronic diseases: a cross-sectional study. BioPsychoSocial Medicine14(1), 29.

Zabihi, A., Hosseini, S., Jafarian Amiri, S., & Bijani, A. (2018). Polypharmacy among the elderly. Journal of Mid-Life Health9(2), 97.

The case scenario concerns Mrs. J., a 63-year-old female with hypertension, chronic heart failure, and COPD. She usually uses 2L of oxygen at home during activity but has persisted in smoking cigarettes 2PPD for the last 40 years. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the patient’s condition.

Clinical Manifestations of Patient

The patient’s subjective findings include fever, nausea, productive cough, malaise, inability to perform ADLs, anxiety, palpitations, dyspnea, and fatigue. Objective findings include obesity (BMI-31.2), mild fever, low blood pressure, tachypnea, and tachycardia with irregular heart rhythm. In addition, the patient has jugular vein distention, distant heart sounds, S gallop, faint PMI at sixth ICS, and atrial fibrillation. Respiratory findings include frothy blood-tinged sputum, reduced breath sounds, pulmonary crackles, and SpO2 82%. GI findings include hepatomegaly.

Cardiovascular Conditions in Which Mrs. J Is At Risk

            The patient’s obesity increases the risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which causes heart failure (HF) when cholesterol and fat deposits accumulate along the arteries obstructing myocardial blood flow. HF can be prevented in patients with CAD by administering lipid-lowering agents and lifestyle modification to lower cholesterol levels. Atrial fibrillation (AF) causes increased resting heart rate and an exaggerated heart rate response to exercise, causing a reduced diastolic filling time and eventually reduced cardiac output that causes HF (Schwinger, 2021). Lifestyle modification and maintaining optimal blood pressure can prevent the progression of AF to HF. Stroke induces cardiac damage like ventricular wall motion defects that increase the risk of HF. Cardiac damage can be prevented by controlling BP through antihypertensives and lifestyle modification. Myocardial infarction (MI) causes myocardial damage, stunning, and necrosis that impairs the heart’s contractility resulting in heart failure (Schwinger, 2021). HF in patients with MI can be mitigated by administering ACE inhibitors to decrease cardiac output and avoiding high-intense activities that increase oxygen demand.

Evaluation of Nursing Interventions at Admissions

The interventions during the admission of Mrs. J. included the administration of IV Lasix, Vasotec, Lopressor, IV Morphine, inhaled ProAir HFA, Flovent HFA, and oxygen via nasal cannula. The appropriate interventions included IV Lasix, ProAir HFA, and oxygen therapy. Lasix was appropriate because it alleviates symptoms of pulmonary congestion like cough, frothy sputum, palpitations, pulmonary crackles, and jugular vein distention (Oparil et al., 2019). ProAir HFA was also appropriate because it relieves COPD exacerbations, which would increase perfusion and alleviate dyspnea.

Oxygen therapy was ideal for improving the oxygen saturation levels to above 95%. Vasotec and Lopressor were inappropriate because they lower BP, which would worsen the patient’s low BP (Oparil et al., 2019). Furthermore, Morphine was unsuitable because it causes respiratory depression, which would worsen the patient’s breathing difficulties. Flovent HFA was inappropriate during admission since it is indicated for long-term COP maintenance to prevent exacerbations.

Nursing Interventions for Older Patients to Prevent Problems Caused by Multiple Drug Interactions

Lasix is a loop diuretic that facilitates water and sodium excretion by interfering with the chloride-binding cotransport system. This hinders the reabsorption of sodium and chloride in the ascending loop of Henle, and distal renal tubule, and lower preload in CHF (Oparil et al., 2019). Vasotec hinders the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, causing elevated plasma renin levels and reduced aldosterone secretion. This lowers blood pressure and improves HF symptoms. Lopressor is a selective beta-1-adrenergic blocker that competitively blocks beta1-receptors at low doses and blocks beta2-receptors at higher doses (Oparil et al., 2019). It is used in HF because it lowers cardiac output through negative inotropic and chronotropic effects.

Morphine is an opioid analgesic that blocks the ascending pain pathways altering pain response. It produces analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression. ProAir HFA is a Beta 2 Agonist that relaxes bronchial smooth muscles and is indicated to alleviate acute bronchospasms (Nici et al., 2020). Flovent HFA is an inhalant corticosteroid with an anti-inflammatory effect on eosinophils, neutrophils, macrophages, lymphocytes, mast cells, and mediators

Older adults are significantly affected by multiple drug interactions due to polypharmacy since they have comorbid health conditions. Nursing interventions to prevent drug interactions include medication reconciliation, which entails identifying and documenting all drugs a patient takes and comparing the list with the physician’s orders (Kurczewska-Michalak et al., 2021). The nurse can also note a patient’s coexisting conditions and medications and assess the possibility of resulting in adverse drug effects. In addition, the nurse should educate the patient on how to take the medications, including the medications, generic and brand names, indications, and potential side effects, and explain how long the medication will likely be taken (Kurczewska-Michalak et al., 2021). Furthermore, the nurse can regularly reevaluate the patient for the need to continue prescribed medications and inform the physician to stop those that are no longer necessary or medications with higher possible risks than benefits.

Health Promotion and Restoration Teaching Plan

The health promotion and restoration education plan for Mrs. J will focus on lifestyle modification to control BP, maintain a healthy weight, delay COPD progression, and prevent COPD exacerbations. Regarding COPD, Mrs. J will be educated on the benefits of smoking cessation and avoiding environmental pollutants to delay disease progression and prevent exacerbations. Physical exercises will further be emphasized to improve lung function (Burge et al., 2020). Health education to control BP will include engaging in moderate aerobic exercises at least 40 minutes daily to improve cardiovascular functioning, lower BP, and promote weight loss. In addition, she will be educated on a healthy diet and reducing caloric intake for weight loss and to lower BP.

A multidisciplinary approach will be needed for rehabilitation and will include pulmonary rehabilitation, nutritional counseling, education, and self-management. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary intervention for COPD established to improve exercise tolerance, dyspnea, and health-related QoL (Young et al., 2021). Nutritional counseling by a dietitian is vital for COPD patients who are underweight or overweight. Education and self-management are vital aspects of the multidisciplinary approach. They involve educational sessions educating patients on the nature and course of COPD and how to live with the impact of the disease.

COPD Triggers and Options for Smoking Cessation

Mrs. J can be provided individual psychotherapy to help with smoking cessation and group-based behavioral counseling. Pharmacotherapy intervention for smoking cessation includes Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The patient can be administered nicotine transdermal patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal spray (Krist et al., 2021). COPD triggers that can cause exacerbations and readmission include tobacco smoke, exposure to dust, and environmental pollutants like carbon monoxide, which cause bronchoconstriction.


Mrs. J has a risk of cardiovascular conditions like Coronary Artery Disease, Atrial fibrillation, Stroke, and Myocardial infarction. IV Lasix, ProAir HFA, and oxygen therapy were appropriate since they improve symptoms of pulmonary congestion and COPD exacerbations. However, Vasotec and Lopressor lower BP, which is unsuitable for the patient due to the low BP. Morphine would have caused respiratory depression, while Flovent HFA is indicated for long-term COPD maintenance and thus was inappropriate. The health education plan for Mrs. J focuses on lifestyle modification to control BP, promote weight loss, delay COPD progression, and prevent COPD exacerbations.




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Krist, A. H., Davidson, K. W., Mangione, C. M., Barry, M. J., Cabana, M., Caughey, A. B., … & US Preventive Services Task Force. (2021). Interventions for tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant persons: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Jama325(3), 265-279. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.25019

Kurczewska-Michalak, M., Lewek, P., Jankowska-Polańska, B., Giardini, A., Granata, N., Maffoni, M., Costa, E., Midão, L., & Kardas, P. (2021). Polypharmacy Management in the Older Adults: A Scoping Review of Available Interventions. Frontiers in pharmacology12, 734045.

Nici, L., Mammen, M. J., Charbek, E., Alexander, P. E., Au, D. H., Boyd, C. M., … & Aaron, S. D. (2020). Pharmacologic management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. An official American Thoracic Society clinical practice guideline. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine201(9), e56-e69. DOI: 10.1164/rccm.202003-0625ST

Oparil, S., Acelajado, M. C., Bakris, G. L., Berlowitz, D. R., Cífková, R., Dominiczak, A. F., Grassi, G., Jordan, J., Poulter, N. R., Rodgers, A., & Whelton, P. K. (2019). Hypertension. Nature reviews. Disease primers, p. 4, 18014.

Schwinger, R. H. G. (2021). Pathophysiology of heart failure. Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy11(1), 263–276.

Young, M., Villgran, V., Ledgerwood, C., Schmetzer, A., & Cheema, T. (2021). Developing a Multidisciplinary Approach to the COPD Care Pathway. Critical care nursing quarterly44(1), 121–127.