A patient recovering from a myocardial infarction has been in bed for 6 days. The patient now complains of calf pain. The nurse should first:

Assess the calf for redness, heat, and swelling.

Explanation

• Due to the time spent in bed and inactive, the patient is at high risk for the development of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Pain in the calf, redness or heat, and swelling in the affected extremity are signs of a DVT

• Diagnostic tests that help diagnose a DVT include a D-dimer test to confirm the presence of fibrin degradation products from a clot, venous ultrasound, venography to visualize the clot with contrast, or less commonly MRI or CT

• Incorrect: Having the patient ambulate or massaging the calf would not help find the source of the pain

• Incorrect: Administering pain medication would treat the pain, but would not help determine the source of the pain

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