Gastric Bypass Patients Need Modified Nursing Care

Complications can arise if they are treated the same as normal weight patients
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency department nurses treating patients who have previously undergone gastric bypass surgery need to adapt their routine methods of care to treat such patients safely, according to an article published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Noel Stevens, R.N., of the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, writes that in Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients, a typical complication is gastrointestinal leak, and points out that fast heart rate and respiratory distress are reliable symptoms for which emergency department nurses should be on the look out.

Gastric bypass patients have particular needs when they are being given medications, with oral medications typically crushed for the first six weeks after surgery. The procedure also has an impact on drug solubility and absorption, and certain medications such as oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs must be avoided indefinitely because of the risk of ulcer formation, the author notes.

"With a projected quarter million procedures being performed annually, the chance of an emergency department nurse tending to a patient who has had gastric bypass is likely," Stevens concludes. "Caring for these patients can be unfamiliar and intimidating to an emergency nurse, but with a few alterations in nursing procedures, nurses can provide safe, effective treatment with positive outcomes for the patient and themselves."

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