Preload and Afterload – What's the Difference?

A recent Quick Quiz on our Facebook page resulted in a mix of responses. Do you know what word is used to describe the amount of stretch on the myocardium at the end of diastole? The responses were split between preload and afterload. 
 
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Let’s take a closer look at what these terms mean.

Preload

Preload, also known as the left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), is the amount of ventricular stretch at the end of diastole. Think of it as the heart loading up for the next big squeeze of the ventricles during systole. Some people remember this by using an analogy of a balloon – blow air into the balloon and it stretches; the more air you blow in, the greater the stretch. 

Afterload

Afterload, also known as the systemic vascular resistance (SVR), is the amount of resistance the heart must overcome to open the aortic valve and push the blood volume out into the systemic circulation. If you think about the balloon analogy, afterload is represented by the knot at the end of the balloon. To get the air out, the balloon must work against that knot. 

Cardiac Output & Cardiac Index

Cardiac output is the volume of blood the heart pumps per minute. Cardiac output is calculated by multiplying the stroke volume by the heart rate; normal cardiac output is about 4 to 8 L/min, but varies depending on the body’s metabolic needs. Cardiac index is a calculation of the cardiac output divided by the person’s body surface area (BSA). 

So, if you answered ‘D’ to the quiz above, you’re right!
References
Gowda, C. (2008). Don't be puzzled by cardiovascular concepts. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 27-30.
Smeltzer, S. B. (2010). Brunner & Suddarth's Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing, Twelfth Edition. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Warise, L. (2015). Understanding Cardiogenic Shock: A Nursing Approach to Improve Outcomes. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 67-77.
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Posted: 5/26/2015 5:29:45 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 9 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Measles Update

The current outbreak of measles, which has been linked to a California amusement park, continues to make headlines in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking data on the states affected and the number of cases. I encourage you to stay informed so you’ll be able to best educate your patients and answer their questions.

Before I get to the purpose of this post – to review transmission, signs and symptoms, and treatment of measles – I’d like to briefly address why we are seeing this resurgence in cases. In 1998, a study was published in the Lancet which suggested a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. As a result, increased numbers of parents opted to refuse the MMR vaccine for their children. The researchers later retracted their study, and current evidence concludes that there is no association between vaccines and autism.

As nurses, we have a responsibility to educate patients about the importance of vaccinations and the implications when vaccine-preventable diseases reemerge. Measles is extremely contagious and can have serious complications, especially for certain high risk groups. Please stay informed about the current outbreak and recommendations for vaccinations. 

What is measles?


Measles is an acute viral illness, transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread. After exposure (the incubation period can range from seven to 21 days), a prodromal syndrome of high fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis is characteristic. Koplik spots (white or bluish-white spots on the buccal mucosa) may occur and then the development of the characteristic maculopapular rash, which typically spreads from the head to the trunk to the lower extremities, follows. 

 


Complications of measles

Common:

  • Otitis media
  • Bronchopneumonia
  • Laryngotracheobronchitis
  • Diarrhea

Severe:

  • Encephalitis
  • Respiratory complications
  • Neurologic complications
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)

Who’s at risk for severe complications?

  • Infants and children younger than five years; adults over 20
  • Pregnant women
  • Immunocompromised patients

Need-to-know information for nurses

  • After appearance of the rash, infected patients should be isolated for four days in a single-patient airborne infection isolation room (AIIR).
  • Measles is a reportable disease and local health departments should be notified within 24 hours of suspected measles cases. 
  • Routine childhood immunization for MMR vaccine starts with the first dose at 12-15 months of age, and the second dose at 4-6 years of age or at least 28 days after the first dose. (More vaccine schedules and information, including contraindications to vaccination, can be found here.)

References
Finerty, E. (2008). Did you say measles? American Journal of Nursing, 108(12). 
Skehan, J. & Muller, L. (2014). Vaccinations: Eliminating Preventable Illness. Professional Case Management, 19 (6).
Wade, G. (2014). Nurses as Primary Advocates for Immunization Adherence. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 39 (6). 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, January 30). Measles (Rubeola): For Healthcare Professionals.

Posted: 2/2/2015 3:29:18 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Ebola: Keeping Perspective

Our NursingCenter team has been following the Ebola outbreak closely over the past months, but with recent developments of disease transmission here in the United States, media coverage has increased and protocols and recommendations are being closely examined. As nurses, we play an important role in patient and public education, and it is important that we continue to act with compassion and skill while gathering our knowledge from reputable sources and keeping recent developments in perspective.

Nina and Amber
My thanks and best wishes for a quick recovery go out to Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, two nurses who contracted the Ebola virus while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the infected patient who died on Oct. 8, 2014.  I commend your dedication and compassion. I am proud of you.

Nurses and other healthcare providers
To those of you caring for Nina and Amber, those already in or heading to West Africa to help with the outbreak there, and those studying current guidelines and possible systems issues, thank you. I am confident that your hard work will make a difference here and abroad, and that best practices for the safety of patients, healthcare providers, and the public is the priority. 

Stay informed
As a nurse, I will continue to look to professional organizations for the latest information and guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a long list of guidelines and checklists for U.S. health professionals. The Global Alert and Response of the World Health Organization includes up-to-date news and facts, frequently asked questions, and preparedness guidance. The National Institutes of Health also lists facts about the virus as well as the latest developments of research on prevention, treatment, and detection. 

I encourage you all to stay up-to-date and share your knowledge with your patients and the public. Refer to the sites above or to our Ebola page on NursingCenter (which we update daily with information from the above sites). Our colleagues at the American Journal of Nursing have also shared valuable insights from a nurse epidemiologist, who addresses the concerns surrounding personal protective equipment, and a nurse informaticist, who looks at the role of electronic health records in handling the Ebola outbreak.

Moving forward
I had the pleasure of spending the past week at Nursing Management Congress and was in the company of over 800 nurse leaders from around the country as the news of Ebola virus transmission in the U.S. unfolded. Themes from the general sessions included a focus on restoring pride in nursing, believing in team members, and dealing with root causes instead of putting out fires. I think these themes are appropriate as we face this new challenge in healthcare. 

Posted: 10/14/2014 1:22:23 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Enterovirus D68

In the Midwest,  an enterovirus, known as EV-D68, is causing concern. While not a new virus, EV-D68 has recently caused severe respiratory symptoms in affected children in Missouri, and several other states have contacted the CDC for assistance with a possible regional outbreak as well. These are Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Symptoms of a common cold are typical at the onset of EV-D68, however the development of fever, rash, or dyspnea – particularly in children with asthma – is occurring and necessitating hospitalization, and in some instances, ICU admission. 

While details continue to be released, please remember your role in patient education and infection control. Tell parents and caregivers about these symptoms of EV-D68 and advise them to seek care for their child if fever, rash, or breathing difficulties develop. Also, share these basics of infection control:

  • avoiding close contact with people who have respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or sneezing
  • staying home when sick
  • washing hands often with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand cleansers 
  • not touching eyes, nose, or mouth 
  • keeping surfaces and objects (especially tables, counters, doorknobs, and toys) that can be exposed to a virus clean
  • practicing other good health habits, including getting plenty of sleep, staying active, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating healthy foods

As more details are released, we’ll be sure to keep you informed! 

Update 9/16/14 - More states have reported EV-D68 infections. Please visit our page on this topic for more information and resources!

Reference:

Bonsall, L. (2009). Be prepared for H1N1 flu. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 7(6).

 

Posted: 9/8/2014 1:37:31 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Take a look inside our collection of stroke resources

Caring for patients with stroke can be challenging; when a stroke is occurring, it is imperative to distinguish the symptoms from other diagnoses. Determining the type and location of stroke is yet another difficulty. Further challenges are met with treatment and rehabilitation. 

To help you manage these complex issues, we’ve created a Focus On: Stroke collection, which is comprised of journal content, as well as the following special features:

Each item in this collection is only $1.99, or you can purchase the entire collection together with the Powerpoint slides, podcasts, and the Take5 for only $19.99 (doesn’t include CE).  

I hope you’ll take some time to explore this collection! Have a question or comment? Please feel free to connect with me here on the blog by leaving a comment or you can email me at clinicaleditor@nursingcenter.com.  

Posted: 3/6/2014 1:35:56 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


New nursing tip!

I just learned this one this morning while reading Puzzling out SIADH in the November/December 2013 issue of Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!

To remember the early signs of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH), think FLAT:

Fatigue

Lethargy

Anorexia

Thirst

Here are more nursing tips, and some other mnemonics and "memory joggers" that you might find useful.

 

Reference:
Pullen, R. (2013). Puzzling out SIADHNursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 11(6)

Posted: 11/20/2013 3:24:34 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Mental Illness: ESCAPE

I just learned the mnemonic below while reading Caring for a patient with mental illness in the acute care setting (Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, May/June 2013). Remember the word ESCAPE to help you care for a patient with a mental disorder in an acute care setting.

E = Early assessment

S = Symptom identification

C = Choose communication techniques based on symptoms found

A = Assess for history of prior effective treatment

P = Psychiatric medication regime reconciliation and maintenance

E = Eliminate or decrease stressors

For more mnemonics, check out previous blog posts here and here. Have one to share? Please do!

Reference:
Ahern, J. & Kumar, C. (2013). Caring for a patient with mental illness in the acute care settingNursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 11(3).

Posted: 6/8/2013 3:28:02 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Fighting the Obesity Epidemic

In 2010, more than one-third of adults in the United States were obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It’s safe to call the issue of obesity an epidemic at this point, and it can lead to other complications like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer. The health problems caused by obesity are some of the leading causes of preventable death.

A new infographic from Nursing@Georgetown outlines some important statistics about this issue, aimed at increasing awareness and educating the public about the positive effects of a proper diet and exercise.

Things like eating whole grains, switching to low-fat milk, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can help turn things around and lead to a healthier body. In addition, the USDA has developed a nutrition guide called MyPlate that outlines recommended food portions.

Exercise also helps, and all adults should set a long-term goal to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days. Check out the infographic below for information, and ways we can all work to improve our health behaviors.

Obesity in the U.S.: Fighting the Epidemic with Proper Diet & Exercise

Via Nursing License Map and Nursing@Georgetown

This post is written by Erica Moss, who is the community manager for the online nursing programs at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Posted: 3/11/2013 1:44:17 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


H's and T's

I’m drawn to articles that offer tips, top ten lists, mnemonics, and quick-reads to make our days and lives as nurses run smoother. That’s why I’m happy to share that we’ve just added a new article to our Recommended Reading list with not one, but two handy mnemonic devices! Plus, the topic is ECG interpretation and you may recall that one of my most memorable days as a nurse began with analysis of a Six-Second Strip

Please allow me to share one of these clever mnemonics with you here (you can click through to the article to learn the other – enjoy free online access while it’s on our recommended reading list). 

So, what are the H’s and T’s referred to in the title of this post? They are the reversible causes of cardiac arrest, which include:

* Hypovolemia

* Hypoxia

* Hydrogen ion (acidosis)

* Hypo- or hyperkalemia

* Hypothermia

* Tension pneumothorax

* Tamponade, cardiac

* Toxins

* Thrombosis, pulmonary

* Thrombosis, coronary

Do you have any similar mnemonic devices to share? Let’s help one another to remember all that is nursing and healthcare!

Reference:

Craig, K., (2013). Heart Beats: Rhythm self-quiz: Fast and deadly. Nursing2013 Critical Care, 8(1).

Posted: 1/31/2013 6:36:36 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


Flu Panic

I’m a bit ashamed to be admitting this to a group of nurses, but I figure that if I shame myself enough maybe I won’t let this happen again. Ok, here it is…I didn’t get a flu shot. There, I said it. No reason, really, I just got busy and it kept getting pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. My husband got his at work, I took the kids for theirs, but mine – I just never got around to it. I am embarrassed and yes, more than a little nervous about getting sick. 

I’ve been reading a ton about this year’s influenza viruses "taking the U.S. by storm." I get emails from the CDC with the latest numbers and maps showing flu activity around the country. Our Nursing News page has links to updates and articles about this year’s virus. Our twitter timeline and facebook newsfeed also contain quite a bit of flu-related news, opinions, and personal stories these days. 

Not only am I “virtually” surrounded by the virus, but my kids come home from school each day with a report of who was absent, or more concerning, who was sick at school. My husband returns from his work as a respiratory therapist with a flu update from the hospital floors. And of course, I’m aware of every sniffle and sneeze around me when I’m out. 

My plan, which has been working well so far, consists of the usual recommended practices: frequent handwashing, not touching my face, getting enough rest and eating well, and doing my best to avoid those who are sick. However, while I’ve dodged illness thus far this flu season, I will surely be calling my nurse practitioner this week to schedule my vaccination! 

Any other advice? 

Posted: 1/20/2013 6:41:37 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Diseases & Conditions


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