Which complication should be suspected by the nurse?
Nurse Ruth is assessing a client after a thyroidectomy. The assessment reveals muscle twitching and tingling, along with numbness in the fingers, toes, and mouth area.
Thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure, involving the thyroid glands. One complication of the procedure is the accidental removal of the parathyroid glands. This results in deficiency of parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone is responsible for maintaining normal amount of calcium in the body, in its absence, the amount of calcium decreases, which leads to tetany.
Tetany is characterized by involuntary spasms and muscular contractions. The patients is displaying a similar set of problems and needs immediate attention. Tetany can result in spasm of the airway and can be potentially lethal. It needs treatment by optimum infusion of calcium and then maintenance of parathyroid hormones in the long run.
Tetany may result if the parathyroid glands are excised or damaged during thyroid surgery. Hemorrhage is a potential complication after thyroid surgery but is characterized by tachycardia, hypotension, frequent swallowing, feelings of fullness at the incision site, choking, and bleeding. Thyroid storm is another term for severe hyperthyroidism not a complication of thyroidectomy. Laryngeal nerve damage may occur postoperatively, but its signs include a hoarse voice and, possibly, acute airway obstruction.