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Hidden complications: A case study in peripheral arterial disease

By Pamela Anderson, MS, RN, APN-BC, CCRN, and Terri Townsend, MA, RN, CCRN-CMC, CVRN-BC

Jan Smith, age 59, is admitted to the coronary intensive care unit with an acute inferior myocardial infarction (MI). Recently diagnosed with hypertension and hyperlipidemia, she smokes a pack and a half of cigarettes daily. She reports she has always been healthy and can’t believe she has had a heart attack. (Note: Name is fictitious.)

On physical exam, the cardiologist finds decreased femoral pulses bilaterally and recommends immediate cardiac catheterization. Fortunately, primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is readily available at this hospital. PCI is the preferred reperfusion method when it can be provided by skilled cardiologists in a timely manner. (more…)

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