NU621 Unit 6 Case Studies

NU621 Unit 6 Case Studies

Review the subjective and objective data sets provided in the 3 cases. You are to construct a subjective and objective data set for each case that demonstrates your knowledge of how to construct problem focused subjective and objective data sets.
Document your 3 subjective and objective data sets in a Word file.

Running head: CASE STUDY 1

Lindsay Kirchner

Unit 6 Case Study

Herzing University

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Patient Scenario-1

Two individuals come to the emergency department with head injuries. One, 25 years old, has

just been in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) and has a temporal lobe injury. The other, 65 years

old, has increasing confusion after a fall that happened earlier in the week.

Extradural Hematoma vs Subdural Hematoma

McCance and Huether (2014) define extradural hematomas as 1% to 2% of major head

injuries, common in 20 to 40 year olds. Bleeding is located between the dura mater and skull.

The most common mechanism for extradural hematomas to occur is a result of motor vehicle

accidents (MVAs) with 90% being caused by temporal fracture and the temporal fossa being the

primary location. In 85% of extradural hematomas an artery is the main culprit for bleeding.

“The resulting shift of the temporal lobe medially precipitates uncal and hippocampal gyrus

herniation through the tentorial notch” (p. 585). Those with extradural hematomas initially lose

consciousness then have a lucid time period for a few hours to a day or two after depending on if

the bleeding is arterial or venous. During that lucid time is when the bleeding is increasing. This

is ultimately followed by severe headache, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, potentially seizures,

and confusion (McCance & Huether, 2014). If the patient is not treated in time, herniation

followed by death can occur.

Subdural hematomas account for 10% to 20% of traumatic brain injuries. The most

common cause is motor vehicle accidents (McCance & Huether, 2014). In older adults, falls can

be linked to chronic subdural hematomas. Additionally, subacute hematomas can develop slower

over the course of two days to two weeks. Chronic hematomas develop over two weeks to two

months. Subdural hematomas are a result of venous blood occurring between the dura mater and

arachnoid mater (McCance & Huether, 2014). Depending how many veins are torn will depend

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on amount of bleeding. When bleeding begins, the blood will begin to compress the brain and

cause the intracranial pressure (ICP) to increase. As the ICP increases, the bleeding veins are

compressed eventually slowing the bleeding. Symptoms include headache, drowsiness,

confusion, slowed cognition and generalized rigidity (McCance & Huether, 2014).

Most Emergent Patient

The patient requiring immediate emergency surgical intervention would be the 25 year

old. This is in part due to the fact of extradural hematomas primarily come from the artery

causing rapid bleeding. McCance and Huether (2014) report the prognosis to be good prior to

bilateral dilated pupils noted. The authors also note these hematomas to be medical emergencies

almost always. This is not to say the 65 year old patient doesn’t need an intervention. They most

likely will due to becoming symptomatic. However with the subdural hematoma most likely

being venous it is a slower bleed than arterial. Additionally, with the fall occurring earlier in the

week and more recently developing increased confusion, he has the potential of remaining more

stable than the 25 year old patient.

Patient Scenario 2

A 38 year old was driving his 1970 Chevy Corvette to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game when

a deer jumped out in front of him on the highway. He swerved his car and hit a telephone pole

instead. His head hit the windshield and he suffered severe head trauma.

Type of Head Injury

The patient ultimately suffered a focal traumatic brain injury, more specifically a coup

and contrecoup brain injury. Upon hitting his head, it threw his head forward hitting the

windshield (coup). This was then followed by his head going backward (contrecoup). “The focal

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injury may be a coup injury (directly below the point of impact) or contrecoup (on the pole

opposite the site of impact)” (p. 583).

Treatment Plan

Treatment will depend on how much injury occurred. According to the Mayo clinic

(2019), there is usually no treatment for mild traumatic brain injuries other than rest and pain

relievers. It is recommended, however, for the patient to be monitored and watched for

worsening symptoms. For moderate to severe injuries, it’s crucial to prevent further injury to the

head or neck and also to maintain sufficient blood supply and blood pressure. Additionally,

further treatment may be needed (Mayo Clinic, 2019). This could involve surgery to remove and

stop bleeding in the brain or repairing skull fractures. Medications such as diuretics, anti-seizure

medications and coma-inducing drugs to allow the body to rest may also be indicated. Lastly,

treatment for the patient may include rehabilitation. Specialists this may include are psychiatrist,

occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech pathologist, neuropsychologist, rehabilitation

providers and recreational therapist (Mayo Clinic, 2019).


Mayo Clinic. (2019). Traumatic brain injury: Diagnosis and treatment. Retrieved from


McCance, K. & Huether, S. (2014). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and

children. 7th Edition. Elsevier Mosby: St. Louis, MO.

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