Nursing Care Plan – Angina
Angina is a temporary chest pain that results from inadequate oxygen flow to the myocardium. It’s usually described as burning, squeezing, or a tight feeling in the substernal or precordial chest. This pain may radiate to the left arm, neck, jaw, or shoulder blade. Typically, the patient clenches his fist over his chest or rubs his left arm when describing the pain, which may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fainting, sweating, and cool extremities.
Angina commonly occurs after physical exertion, but may also follow emotional excitement, exposure to cold, or a large meal. It may also develop during sleep, and symptoms may awaken the patient.
When assessing for anginal pain, older adults commonly have an increased tolerance for pain, and may be less likely to complain. Instead, they may compensate by slowing their activity levels. Older adults may not experience chest pain at all, but may report dyspnea, faintness, or extreme fatigue.
The person’s health history may suggest a pattern to the type and onset of pain. If the pain is predictable and relieved by rest or nitrates, it’s called stable angina. If it increases in frequency and duration and is more easily induced, it’s referred to as unstable angina or unpredictable angina. Unstable angina may occur at rest and generally indicates extensive or worsening disease that may progress to an MI. Variant or Prinzmetal’s angina is caused by coronary artery spasm, and commonly occurs at rest without initial increased oxygen demand.
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