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Cardiac assessment 

Cardiac assessment
Chapter:
Cardiac assessment
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198832447.003.0002
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date: 12 May 2021

It is essential that the cardiac nurse can carry out a comprehensive cardiac assessment of their patient. The nursing assessment aims to describe the patient’s condition and help determine an accurate diagnosis, so that an effective and timely clinical management plan is implemented. The focus of the initial assessment varies according to the setting and clinical presentation of the patient. However, the priority is always to determine whether the patient is haemodynamically stable, whether they are suffering from an acute cardiac event that would benefit from time-dependent therapy, and the need for symptom management. A thorough cardiac assessment requires the nurse to use a wide range of interpersonal, observational, and technical skills. Additionally, the nurse needs an in-depth knowledge of cardiac anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology to determine the significance of the findings. This chapter outlines how to assess key symptoms and signs of cardiac disease. Symptoms are things that the patient reports as troublesome issues; signs are associated physiological changes that the health professional might discover during the course of their assessment.

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