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Nursing Diagnosis for Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA) | Ineffective Cerebral Tissue Perfusion

Cerebrovascular disease refers to any functional or structural abnormality of the brain caused by a pathological condition of the cerebral vessels or of the entire cerebrovascular system. This pathology either causes hemorrhage from a tear in the vessel wall or impairs the cerebral circulation by a partial or complete occlusion of the vessel lumen with transient or permanent effects. Over 700,000 Americans are affected by a CVA annually. CVA is the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer and is the leading cause of disability cost to the nation (approximately $30–$40 billion/year.)
Thrombosis, embolism, and hemorrhage are the primary causes for CVA, with thrombosis being the main cause of both CVAs and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). The most common vessels involved are the carotid arteries and those of the vertebrobasilar system at the base of the brain. A thrombotic CVA causes a slow evolution of symptoms, usually over several hours, and is “completed” when the condition stabilizes. An embolic CVA occurs when a clot is carried into cerebral circulation and causes a localized cerebral infarct. Hemorrhagic CVA is caused by other conditions such as a ruptured aneurysm, hypertension, arteriovenous (AV) malformations, or other bleeding disorders. Symptoms depend on distribution of the cerebral vessel(s) involved. Ischemia may be (1) transient and resolve within 24 hours, (2) reversible with resolution of symptoms over a period of 1 week (reversible ischemic neurological deficit [RIND]), or (3) progress to cerebral infarction with variable effects and degrees of recovery.

1. Promote adequate cerebral perfusion and oxygenation.
2. Prevent/minimize complications and permanent disabilities.
3. Assist patient to gain independence in ADLs.
4. Support coping process and integration of changes into self-concept.
5. Provide information about disease process/prognosis and treatment/rehabilitation needs.

1. Cerebral function improved, neurological deficits resolving/stabilized.
2. Complications prevented or minimized.
3. ADL needs met by self or with assistance of other(s).
4. Coping with situation in positive manner, planning for the future.
5. Disease process/prognosis and therapeutic regimen understood.

Nursing diagnosis for Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA): Infective Cerebral Tissue Perfusion may be related to Interruption of blood flow: occlusive disorder, hemorrhage; cerebral vasospasm, cerebral edema possibly evidenced by Altered level of consciousness; memory loss; Changes in motor/sensory responses; restlessness; Sensory, language, intellectual, and emotional deficits; and Changes in vital signs.

Desired Outcomes
1. Maintain usual/improved level of consciousness, cognition, and motor/sensory function.
2. Demonstrate stable vital signs and absence of signs of increased ICP.
3. Display no further deterioration/recurrence of deficits

Nursing intervention with rationale:
1. Determine factors related to individual situation/cause for coma/decreased cerebral perfusion and potential for increased ICP.
Rationale: Influences choice of interventions. Deterioration in neurological signs/symptoms or failure to improve after initial insult may reflect decreased intracranial adaptive capacity requiring patient be transferred to critical care area for monitoring of ICP, other therapies. If the stroke is evolving, patient can deteriorate quickly and require repeated assessment and progressive treatment. If the stroke is “completed,” the neurological deficit is nonprogressive, and treatment is geared toward rehabilitation and preventing recurrence.

2. Monitor/document neurological status frequently and compare with baseline.
Rationale: Assesses trends in level of consciousness (LOC) and potential for increased ICP and is useful in determining location, extent, and progression/resolution of CNS damage. May also reveal presence of TIA, which may warn of impending thrombotic CVA.

3. Monitor vital signs, i.e., note: Hypertension/hypotension, compare BP readings in both arms.
Rationale: Fluctuations in pressure may occur because of cerebral pressure/injury in vasomotor area of the brain. Hypertension or postural hypotension may have been a precipitating factor. Hypotension may occur because of shock (circulatory collapse). Increased ICP may occur because of tissue edema or clot formation. Subclavian artery blockage may be revealed by difference in pressure readings between arms.

4. Evaluate pupils, noting size, shape, equality, light reactivity.
Rationale: Pupil reactions are regulated by the oculomotor (III) cranial nerve and are useful in determining whether the brainstem is intact. Pupil size/equality is determined by balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic enervation. Response to light reflects combined function of the optic (II) and oculomotor (III) cranial nerves.

5. Document changes in vision, e.g., reports of blurred vision, alterations in visual field/depth perception.
Rationale: Specific visual alterations reflect area of brain involved, indicate safety concerns, and influence choice of interventions.

6. Assess higher functions, including speech, if patient is alert.
Rationale: Changes in cognition and speech content are an indicator of location/degree of cerebral involvement and may indicate deterioration/increased ICP.

7. Position with head slightly elevated and in neutral position.
Rationale: Reduces arterial pressure by promoting venous drainage and may improve cerebral circulation/perfusion.

8. Maintain bedrest; provide quiet environment; restrict visitors/activities as indicated. Provide rest periods between care activities, limit duration of procedures.
Rationale: Continual stimulation/activity can increase ICP. Absolute rest and quiet may be needed to prevent rebleeding in the case of hemorrhage.

9. Assess for nuchal rigidity, twitching, increased restlessness, irritability, onset of seizure activity.
Rationale: Indicative of meningeal irritation, especially in hemorrhage disorders. Seizures may reflect increased ICP/cerebral injury, requiring further evaluation and intervention.

10. Administer supplemental oxygen as indicated.
Rationale: Reduces hypoxemia, which can cause cerebral vasodilation and increase pressure/edema formation.
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