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Case Study: Cari's Story

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A. How would an infection in Cari’s nasal passages and pharynx spread into her sinuses?
An infection would spread into Cari’s sinuses due to the sinuses being a drainage area for the nasal passage. B. What is the cough reflex? Describe the process that Cari’s respiratory system is using to clear her lungs by coughing?
A cough reflex clears up sputum from the nasal passages and pharynx. In the trachea there are cilia that move mucus up from the lungs. The mucus causes the cough reflex. C. Which structures found in the terminal bronchioles and alveoli normally would protect Cari’s lungs from infectious pathogens and particulate matter?
Inside the terminal bronchioles and alveoli there are macrophages that would protect Cari’s lungs. D. How would the resistance of Cari’s airway be affected by excess mucus and fluid in her lungs?
Due to the buildup of excess mucus and fluid in Cari’s lungs, she would have a difficult time with her breathing since the alveoli could not function properly since they would be submerged under fluid. E. How would Cari’s lungs compliance (the effort required to expand the lungs) be altered as her alveoli fill with fluid due to pneumonia?
Her lung compliance will increase from trying to force the gases into and out of the alveoli. The fluid that is in her lungs is pneumonia. F. How would fluid in Cari’s lungs affect her total lung capacity?
The fluid in her lungs affect her total lung capacity by decreasing the amount of air into them since there is fluid buildup. G. How does the elevation of Cari’s respiratory rate alter her minute ventilation?
Cari’s minute ventilation would rise. Minute ventilation is determined by multiplying the total volume by respiratory rate. H. Normal blood oxygen saturation levels are greater than 94 percent; Cari’s blood oxygen saturation level was 90 percent at the time of her exam and an initial arterial blood gas analysis done when she was admitted to the hospital revealed her arterial Po2 was 54 mmHg. How do these clinical findings relate to the internal respiration in Cari’s body?
These clinical findings show that Cari’s arteries have too much oxygen in them. You can determine this since the normal Po2 of a resting individual is 40 mmHg. On average, a “normal” oxygen saturation rate at rest is 94 percent. I. Which of the symptoms Cari has described are due to lack of oxygen and reduced oxygen exchange at her tissues?
Cari mentions that she “pants like a dog” leading to the determination of lack of oxygen. This reduces the oxygen exchange in her tissues. J. As Cari’s Pco2 rose, how was the oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin affected?
The hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily, as the Pco2 rises. K. How would you have expected Cari’s decreased Pco2 and alkaline blood pH to have affected her breathing?
When your blood pH being alkaline, you experience respiratory alkalosis. The co2 levels drop in your blood which causes complications. L. How would administration of oxygen enhance Cari’s central drive to breathe?
Due to the mechanical ventilator, it is able to assist in oxygen perfusion to all of her tissue. Thus, the lungs will be able to expand appropriately. M. Which anatomical structures in Cari’s respiratory system were initially involved?
The initial anatomical structures that were involved were her trachea, throat, and lungs. N. Why was Cari plagued with a chronic smoker’s cough?
Cari was diagnosed with chronic smoker’s cough due the fact that the cilia were irritated, however, they were paralyzed and could not get the irritant out. Due to the fact that nothing was coming up, the cilia continue to be irritated which lead to her chronic cough. O. Which damaging effects of tobacco smoke led to Cari’s impaired respiratory defense mechanisms?
Her cilia ultimately became paralyzed. P. How did the pneumonia affect Cari’s lung function?
The pneumonia affected Cari’s lung function by decreasing her lung capacity, thus not allowing them to expand like they should.

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