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Gastrointestinal Tract: Disorders of Motility

Jamie is a 3-month-old female who presents with her mother for evaluation of “throwing up.” Mom reports that Jamie has been throwing up pretty much all the time since she was born. Jamie does not seem to be sick. In fact, she drinks her formula vigorously and often acts hungry.

Jamie has normal soft brown bowel movements every day and, overall, seems like a happy and contented baby. She smiles readily and does not cry often. Other than the fact that she often throws up after drinking a bottle, she seems to be a very healthy, happy infant.

A more precise history suggests that Jamie does not exactly throw up—she does not heave or act unwell—but rather it just seems that almost every time she drinks a bottle she regurgitates a milky substance. Mom thought that she might be allergic to her formula and switched her to a hypoallergenic formula. It didn’t appear to help at all, and now Mom is very concerned.

Cases like these are not uncommon. The mother was concerned and thinking her daughter may have an allergy; she changed to a different formula. However, sometimes babies have immature GI tracts that can lead to physiology reflux as they adapt to normal life outside the uterus.

Parents often do not consider this possibility, prompting them to change formulas rather than seeking medical care. As in the case study above, GI alterations can often be difficult to identify because many cause similar symptoms. This same issue also arises with adults—adults may present with symptoms that have various potential causes.

When evaluating patients, it is important for the advanced practice nurse to know the types of questions he or she needs to ask to obtain the appropriate information for diagnosis. For this reason, you must have an understanding of common GI disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease (PUD), and gastritis.

To Prepare

  • Review this week’s media presentation on the gastrointestinal system.
  • Review Chapter 33 in the Huether and McCance text. Identify the normal pathophysiology of gastric acid stimulation and production.
  • Review Chapter 35 in the Huether and McCance text. Consider the pathophysiology of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease (PUD), and gastritis. Think about how these disorders are similar and different.
  • Select a patient factor different from the one you selected in this week’s Discussion: genetics, gender, ethnicity, age, or behavior. Consider how the factor you selected might impact the pathophysiology of GERD, PUD, and gastritis. Reflect on how you would diagnose and prescribe treatment of these disorders for a patient based on this factor.
  • Review the “Mind Maps—Dementia, Endocarditis, and Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)” media in the Week 2 Learning Resources. Use the examples in the media as a guide to construct a mind map for gastritis. Consider the epidemiology and clinical presentation of gastritis.

To Complete

Write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:

  • Describe the normal pathophysiology of gastric acid stimulation and production. Explain the changes that occur to gastric acid stimulation and production with GERD, PUD, and gastritis disorders.
  • Explain how the factor you selected might impact the pathophysiology of GERD, PUD, and gastritis. Describe how you would diagnose and prescribe treatment of these disorders for a patient based on the factor you selected.
  • Construct a mind map for gastritis. Include the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation, as well as the diagnosis and treatment you explained in your paper.
Required Readings

Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2012). Understanding pathophysiology (Laureate custom ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

  • Chapter 33, “Structure and Function of the Digestive System”

This chapter provides information relating to the structure and function of the digestive system. It covers the gastrointestinal tract and accessory organs of digestion.

  • Chapter 34, “Alterations of Digestive Function”

This chapter presents information relating to disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and accessory organs of digestion. It also covers the pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, evaluation, and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Chapter 35, “Alterations of Digestive Function in Children”

This chapter presents information relating to disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver that affect children. It focuses on congenital impairment, inflammatory disorders, metabolic disorders, as well as the impairment of digestion, absorption, and nutrition.

McPhee, S. J., & Hammer, G. D. (2010). Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Medical.

  • Chapter 13, “Gastrointestinal Disease”

This chapter provides a foundation for exploring gastrointestinal disorders by reviewing the structure and function of the GI tract. It also describes mechanisms of regulation of GI tract disorders such as acid-peptic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Chapter 14, “Liver Disease”

This chapter reviews the structure and function of the liver. It then explores the clinical presentation, etiology, pathogenesis, pathology, and clinical manifestations of three liver disorders: acute hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

  • Chapter 15, “Disorders of the Exocrine Pancreas”

This chapter begins by reviewing the anatomy, histology, and physiology of the exocrine pancreas. It then examines the clinical presentation, etiology, pathology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of acute and chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic insufficiency, and pancreatic cancer.

  • Gasiorowska, A., Poh, C. H., & Fass, R. (2009). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—Is it one disease or an overlap of two disorders? Digestive Diseases and Sciences54(9), 1829–1834. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. 

    This article examines the similarities between gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome. It focuses on symptoms presented in patients with the disorders, as well as management and treatment options.
Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012c). The gastrointestinal system. Baltimore, MD: Author.

This media presentation outlines the pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal system and associated alterations.

Optional Resources

American Liver Foundation (2011). Retrieved from http://www.liverfoundation.org/

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2012). Retrieved from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/index.aspx

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