The nurse monitors the hypothalamic function of a patient with a head injury. Which assessment parameters should the nurse include in monitoring?

Urinary output and temperature


• A patient with a head injury may have increased intracranial pressure (ICP) that causes hypothalamic dysfunction. This may lead to hypo/hyperthermia, SIADH, and diabetes insipidus.

• To monitor hypothalamic function, it is important to assess urinary output and temperature. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature, osmolality of body fluids, hunger, and satiety. 

• Incorrect: Blood pressure is controlled by the brainstem, not the hypothalamus. Gastric aspirate must be checked for the presence of blood, because it is common for head injury patients to get stress ulcers, but this does not monitor hypothalamic function.

• Incorrect: Pupillary response is dependent on the edema in the brain and heart rate is controlled by the brainstem, not the hypothalamus. 

• Incorrect: Skin integrity is not a parameter for hypothalamic function monitoring. Respiratory rate is also controlled by the brainstem.

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