Aortic Stenosis – Cardiovascular System Example

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"Aortic Stenosis" is an engrossing example of a paper on the cardiovascular system. The article Aortic Stenosis has been written in the Health Guide of the New York Times and was last reviewed by David C. Dugdale, Michael A. Chen and David Zieve in 2012. The article presents a clear picture of the pathological condition referred to as aortic stenosis or aortic valve stenosis. It explains the disease in depth by explaining the causes, symptoms, diagnostics tests as well as treatment modalities available for this disease state. Aortic stenosis results due to many causes.

The disease may present at birth but the condition is mostly seen in the older age group. In the elderly, it occurs due to the deposition of calcium in the valve of the aorta. Rheumatic fever is another underlying factor that can lead to aortic valve stenosis. The disease is not symptomatic at a very early stage. Symptoms that develop later include pain in the chest, breathlessness, syncope, and palpitations. In young children, the symptoms are different and include fatigue even with slight activity as well as low body weight.

Difficulty in respiration may also be seen in young children. A clinical examination can be helpful as the practitioner can hear abnormal heart sounds by using a stethoscope. Other definitive diagnostic tests include chest X-ray, ECG, Doppler Echocardiography, and MRI of the heart. Asymptomatic patients do not require treatment but these patients should be monitored regularly. For patients who have symptoms, medications should be prescribed which include diuretics, nitrates, and beta-blockers. Surgical treatment is utilized in very young patients or in adults who are fit for surgery for the relieving of symptoms if they are severe.

The complications of this condition included the failure of the left side of the heart, generation of irregular rhythms in the heart, and angina (Dugdale et al 2012). Aortic stenosis is a pathology that mainly results due to the incompetency of the aortic valve. The aortic valve loses its ability to open completely and thus the path of blood flow becomes restricted. Owing to the obstruction, the left ventricular pressure increases for the pumping of the blood through the aorta into the rest of the body.

The extra workload on the heart muscle results in the thickening of the muscular walls of the left ventricle. With the further worsening of the condition, there is the pooling of blood in the lungs owing to the resistance to the blood outflow from the left ventricle. This condition prevents the optimal flow of blood to the vital organs of the body including the brain (Dugdale et al 2012). Aortic stenosis is a condition that should be recognized at an early stage by nurse practitioners. The clinical assessment highlighted in the article for the condition explains that history and physical examination can aid in the diagnosis of this condition.

Thus, nurse practitioners should be aware of the general findings of this condition to prevent it from worsening. The current nursing practice highlights these factors and thus it has now become easier for the nurses to diagnose this condition. For future nursing practice, it is essential that the nurses can reach a prompt diagnosis and provide a good treatment plan for the patients. For nursing specialists like anesthetists, a proper plan should be formulated before providing for anesthesia so that the condition of the patients with aortic stenosis does not worsen (Dugdale et al 2012). Aortic stenosis is a pathology that occurs due to the resistance to the blood flow from the left ventricle of the heart into the rest of the body owing to the incompetency of the aortic valve.

Patients present with varying symptoms which range from chest pain to syncope. Diagnosis is based on clinical examination and tests. Medical, as well as surgical treatment options, are available for aortic stenosis.

Nurses should have a good understanding of this condition to prevent the worsening of the condition of their patients.

References

Dugdale, D. C., Chen, M. A. & Zieve, D. (2012). Aortic Stenosis. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/aortic-stenosis/overview.html
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