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A few (somewhat embarrassing) questions?

Specializes in Pre-Op, Med-Surg, Oncology. Has 2 years experience.

Let's get right to it shall we?

1. I understand the rationale behind NPO prior to procedures but something that I have never really been able to get a clear answer on is why is a patient NPO prior to something non-invasive such as an abdominal ultrasound (assuming no anesthesia would be involved)?

2. Can anyone offer a good method/website/tutorial on reading EKGs? I am somewhat familiar with most rhythms but I am certainly not comfortable with them nor could I pick them out while they run across a telemetry screen (well maybe asystole or v-tach/fib :p).

3. If you could have only ONE medical/nursing reference book, what would it be? I think it would be great to have a nice, sourced, medical reference at home that I can have to comfort me on the long, cold nights that my girlfriend can't make it over.

Thanks in advance for all your help. This site has been a tremendous help on more than one occasion. Most of the time I find that many others have questions similar to mine so I don't have to post very much.

-eaRNed

getoverit, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER/ICU/Flight. Has 18 years experience.

1. depends on the study, but the main reason is to reduce the risk of aspiration.

2. there are lots of websites for ekgs. ecglibrary.com is a good place to start.

3. depends on what specialty. I"d take Tintanelli's Emergency Medicine or Cecil's Textbook of Medicine for general/emergency stuff. My personal favorite is Lee's Flight Nursing Principles.

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

1. I believe NPO status for non-invasive tests that do not involve anesthesia is in the event that some emergent action needs to be taken, one that might involve anesthesia. For instance, abdominal pain leads to ultrasound, which shows leaking AAA. Straight to the OR. Do not pass Go.

2. Try Googling "interactive EKG interpretation." I've lost track of the one that I used to use, but there are several websites out there that quiz you as you go. Very helpful.

Edited by roser13

I just had an abdominal u/s and asked the tech that exact question. He said that if you eat/drink, they can't get good pictures of the gallbladder and other organs because they are too active. Even chewing gum can throw off an u/s.

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 34 years experience.

An u/s tech told me they don't like people to eat before abd u/s because they can't tell the differnce between a mass and undigested food.

I used "EKGs Made Easy" authored by Barbara Aehlert, RN, BSPA. It made understanding the conduction system a breeze which in turn made reading the strips a breeze. A free resource is Six Second ECG Simulator. Good luck!

cherrybreeze, ADN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg.

As far as question #1 goes, it's not because of anesthesia (or lack thereof), OR because of the POSSIBLE need for anesthesia due to the results. It's because they need to see the organs (usually gallbladder) in a restful state, and if you eat, it's busy working and their results will not be accurate. Same with as, before a CT scan....you can't have a full stomach as it will obscure the view, especially when using oral contrast.

Do you have an itouch? If so, Instant ECG is a good one. And it's cheap. Shows live cool looking rhythm simulations arcross the screen for you to interpret, as well as lots of learning info.

GHGoonette, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU, OR.

1; The responses given are correct, eating or drinking before abdominal ultrasound will affect readings, and there is the possibility of surgery in the immediate future.

2: Here's one I learned about on Allnurses: http://www.skillstat.com/learn.htm

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

As far as question #1 goes, it's not because of anesthesia (or lack thereof), OR because of the POSSIBLE need for anesthesia due to the results. It's because they need to see the organs (usually gallbladder) in a restful state, and if you eat, it's busy working and their results will not be accurate. Same with as, before a CT scan....you can't have a full stomach as it will obscure the view, especially when using oral contrast.

Good to know. I learned something new today!