The nurse assesses a patient complaining of chest pain that radiates down the left arm. The patient is diaphoretic and short of breath. What should the nurse do next?

Administer oxygen via nasal cannula, initiate telemetry and check vital signs, and administer nitroglycerin.


• When a patient has symptoms of a myocardial infarction, the nurse should take steps to increase myocardial oxygen supply. This can be done by administered oxygen via nasal cannula and by giving nitroglycerine to vasodilate the coronary arteries, thus increasing perfusion and improving myocardial delivery of oxygen.

• Telemetry is the monitoring of electrocardiogram (EKG) and should be evaluated for possible signs of a myocardial infarction, such as ST segment elevation.

• Vital signs should be assessed, especially before administering nitroglycerin.

• Incorrect: Notifying the physician or cardiac catheterization team before completely assessing the patient is premature.

• Incorrect: Norepinephrine (Levophed) is a catecholamine and would increase oxygen demand while decreasing supply.

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