Discussion: Diagnosing HEENT Disorders
In clinical settings, advanced practice nurses may initiate a physical examination of a patient by examining the components of the HEENT system. Assessing primary diagnoses and differential diagnoses as they concern the HEENT system are important in informing your practice in providing optimal care.
For this Discussion, consider the following three case studies of patients presenting with head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat disorders.
Case Study 1
An 86-year-old widowed female is brought to the office by her daughter-in-law. The patient complains of constant tearing and an itchy, burning sensation in both eyes. The patient states this is not a new problem, but it has worsened in the past week and is affecting her vision. The patient complains that her eyes are dry. She thinks the problem must be caused by one of her medications. Her patient medical history is positive for hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. She has an allergy to erythromycin that causes rash and elevated liver enzymes. Medications currently prescribed include Furosemide 40 milligrams po twice a day, diltiazem 240 milligrams po daily, lisinopril 20 milligrams po daily, and warfarin 3 milligrams po daily. The physical examination reveals a frail older female with some facial dryness and slight scaling. Her visual acuity is 20/60 OU, 20/40 OD, 20/60 OS. The eyelids are erythematous and edematous with yellow crusting around the lashes. Sclera are injected, conjunctiva are pale, and pupils are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.
Case Study 2
A middle-aged male presents to the office complaining of a two-day history of a left earache. The onset was gradual, but has steadily been increasing. It has been constantly aching since last night, and his hearing seems diminished to him. Today he thinks the left side of his face may even be swollen. He denies upper respiratory infection, known fever, or chills. His patient medical history is positive for Type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. The patient has a known allergy to Amoxicillin that results in pruritus. Medications currently prescribed include Metformin 1,000 milligrams po twice a day, lisinopril 20 milligrams po daily, Aspirin 81 milligrams po daily, and simvastatin 40 milligrams po daily. The physical exam reveals a middle aged male at a weight of 160 pounds, height of 5’8”, temperature of 98.8 degrees Fahrenheit, heart rate of 88, respiratory rate of 18, and blood pressure of 138/76. Further examination reveals the following:
Face: Faint asymmetry with left periauricular area slightly edematous
Eyes: sclera clear, conj wnl
L ear: + tenderness L pinna, + edema, erythema, exudates left external auditory canal, TM not visible
R ear: no tenderness, R external auditory canal clear without edema, erythema, exudates
+ tenderness L preauricular node, otherwise no lymphadenopathy
Cardiac: S1 S2 regular. No S3 S4 or murmur.
Lungs: CTA w/o rales, wheezes, or rhonchi.
Case Study 3
A middle-aged female presents to the office complaining of strep throat. She states she suddenly developed a sore throat yesterday afternoon, and it has gotten worse since then. During the night she felt like she was chilled and feverish. She denies known recent contact with anyone else who had strep throat, but states she has had strep before and it feels like she has strep now. She takes no medications, but is allergic to penicillin. The physical examination reveals a slender female lying on the examination table. She has a temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit, heart rate of 112, respiratory rate of 22, and blood pressure of 96/64. The head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat evaluation is positive for bilateral tonsillar swelling without exudates. Her neck is supple with bilateral, tender, enlarged anterior cervical nodes.
Review the case studies provided in this week’s Resources.
You will either select or be assigned one of the three case studies provided.
Reflect on the provided patient information including history and physical exams.
Think about a differential diagnosis. Consider the role the patient history and physical exam played in your diagnosis.
Reflect on potential treatment options based on your diagnosis.
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By Day 3
Post an explanation of the primary diagnosis, as well as 3 differential diagnoses, for the patient in the case study you selected. Describe the role of the patient history and physical exam played in the diagnosis. Then, suggest potential treatment options based on your patient diagnosis.