A 29-year-old client is admitted for a hysterectomy. She has repeatedly told the nurses that she is worried about having this surgery, has not slept well lately, and is afraid that her husband will not find her desirable after the surgery. Shortly into the preoperative teaching, she complains of a tightness in her chest, a feeling of suffocation, lightheadedness, and tingling in her hands. Her respirations are rapid and deep. Assessment reveals that the client is:
A. Having a heart attack
B. Wanting attention from the nurses
C. Suffering from complete upper airway obstruction
(A) Classic symptoms of a heart attack include heaviness or squeezing pain in the chest, pain spreading to the jaw, neck, and arm. Nausea and vomiting, sweating, and shortness of breath may be present. The client does not exhibit these symptoms. (B) Clients suffering from anxiety or fear prior to surgical procedures may develop hyperventilation. This client is not seeking attention. (C) Symptoms of complete airway obstruction include not being able to speak, and no airflow between the nose and mouth. Breath sounds are absent. (D) Tightness in the chest; a feeling of suffocation; lightheadedness; tingling in the hands; and rapid, deep respirations are signs and symptoms of hyperventilation. This is almost always a manifestation of anxiety.