Respiratory System Disorders NCLEX Practice Quiz (60 Questions)

Respiratory System Disorders NCLEX Practice Quiz (60 Questions)

Are you ready for the NCLEX? Expand your knowledge with this 60-item NCLEX style examination all about Respiratory Disorders. Never miss an item and do good on your actual exam!

Don’t run from a challenge. Instead run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.
~ Nadia Comaneci


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1. Dr. Jones prescribes albuterol sulfate (Proventil) for a patient with newly diagnose asthma. When teaching the patient about this drug, the nurse should explain that it may cause:

A. Nasal congestion
B. Nervousness
C. Lethargy
D. Hyperkalemia

2. Miriam, a college student with acute rhinitis sees the campus nurse because of excessive nasal drainage. The nurse asks the patient about the color of the drainage. In acute rhinitis, nasal drainage normally is:

A. Yellow
B. Green
C. Clear
D. Gray

3. A male adult patient hospitalized for treatment of a pulmonary embolism develops respiratory alkalosis. Which clinical findings commonly accompany respiratory alkalosis?

A. Nausea or vomiting
B. Abdominal pain or diarrhea
C. Hallucinations or tinnitus
D. Lightheadedness or paresthesia

4. Before administering ephedrine, Nurse Tony assesses the patient’s history. Because of ephedrine’s central nervous system (CNS) effects, it is not recommended for:

A. Patients with an acute asthma attack
B. Patients with narcolepsy
C. Patients under age 6
D. Elderly patients

5. A female patient suffers adult respiratory distress syndrome as a consequence of shock. The patient’s condition deteriorates rapidly, and endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation are initiated. When the high-pressure alarm on the mechanical ventilator, alarm sounds, the nurse starts to check for the cause. Which condition triggers the high-pressure alarm?

A. Kinking of the ventilator tubing
B. A disconnected ventilator tube
C. An endotracheal cuff leak
D. A change in the oxygen concentration without resetting the oxygen level alarm

6. A male adult patient on mechanical ventilation is receiving pancuronium bromide (Pavulon), 0.01 mg/kg I.V. as needed. Which assessment finding indicates that the patient needs another pancuronium dose?

A. Leg movement
B. Finger movement
C. Lip movement
D. Fighting the ventilator

7. On auscultation, which finding suggests a right pneumothorax?

A. Bilateral inspiratory and expiratory crackles
B. Absence of breaths sound in the right thorax
C. Inspiratory wheezes in the right thorax
D. Bilateral pleural friction rub.

8. Rhea, confused and short breath, is brought to the emergency department by a family member. The medical history reveals chronic bronchitis and hypertension. To learn more about the current respiratory problem, the doctor orders a chest x-ray and arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis. When reviewing the ABG report, the nurses sees many abbreviations. What does a lowercase “a” in ABG value present?

A. Acid-base balance
B. Arterial Blood
C. Arterial oxygen saturation
D. Alveoli

9. A male patient is admitted to the healthcare facility for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Which nursing diagnosis is most important for this patient?

A. Activity intolerance related to fatigue
B. Anxiety related to actual threat to health status
C. Risk for infection related to retained secretions
D. Impaired gas exchange related to airflow obstruction

10. Nurse Ruth assessing a patient for tracheal displacement should know that the trachea will deviate toward the:

A. Contralateral side in a simple pneumothorax
B. Affected side in a hemothorax
C. Affected side in a tension pneumothorax
D. Contralateral side in hemothorax

11. After undergoing a left pneumonectomy, a female patient has a chest tube in place for drainage. When caring for this patient, the nurse must:

A. Monitor fluctuations in the water-seal chamber
B. Clamp the chest tube once every shift
C. Encourage coughing and deep breathing
D. Milk the chest tube every 2 hours

12. When caring for a male patient who has just had a total laryngectomy, the nurse should plan to:

A. Encourage oral feeding as soon as possible
B. Develop an alternative communication method
C. Keep the tracheostomy cuff fully inflated
D. Keep the patient flat in bed

13. A male patient has a sucking stab wound to the chest. Which action should the nurse take first?

A. Drawing blood for a hematocrit and hemoglobin level
B. Applying a dressing over the wound and taping it on three sides
C. Preparing a chest tube insertion tray
D. Preparing to start an I.V. line

14. For a patient with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which nursing action best promotes adequate gas exchange?

A. Encouraging the patient to drink three glasses of fluid daily
B. Keeping the patient in semi-Fowler’s position
C. Using a high-flow venture mask to deliver oxygen as prescribe
D. Administering a sedative, as prescribe

15. A male patient’s X-ray result reveals bilateral white-outs, indicating adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This syndrome results from:

A. Cardiogenic pulmonary edema
B. Respiratory alkalosis
C. Increased pulmonary capillary permeability
D. Renal failure

16. For a female patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which nursing intervention would help maintain a patent airway?

A. Restricting fluid intake to 1,000 ml per day
B. Enforcing absolute bed rest
C. Teaching the patient how to perform controlled coughing
D. Administering prescribe sedatives regularly and in large amounts

17. Nurse Lei caring for a client with a pneumothorax and who has had a chest tube inserted notes continues gentle bubbling in the suction control chamber. What action is appropriate?

A. Do nothing, because this is an expected finding
B. Immediately clamp the chest tube and notify the physician
C. Check for an air leak because the bubbling should be intermittent
D. Increase the suction pressure so that the bubbling becomes vigorous

18. Nurse Maureen has assisted a physician with the insertion of a chest tube. The nurse monitors the client and notes fluctuation of the fluid level in the water seal chamber after the tube is inserted. Based on this assessment, which action would be appropriate?

A. Inform the physician
B. Continue to monitor the client
C. Reinforce the occlusive dressing
D. Encourage the client to deep breathe

19. Nurse Reynolds caring for a client with a chest tube turns the client to the side, and the chest tube accidentally disconnects. The initial nursing action is to:

A. Call the physician
B. Place the tube in bottle of sterile water
C. Immediately replace the chest tube system
D. Place a sterile dressing over the disconnection site

20. A nurse is assisting a physician with the removal of a chest tube. The nurse should instruct the client to:

A. Exhale slowly
B. Stay very still
C. Inhale and exhale quickly
D. Perform the Valsalva maneuver

21. While changing the tapes on a tracheostomy tube, the male client coughs and tube is dislodged. The initial nursing action is to:

A. Call the physician to reinsert the tube
B. Grasp the retention sutures to spread the opening
C. Call the respiratory therapy department to reinsert the tracheotomy
D. Cover the tracheostomy site with a sterile dressing to prevent infection

22. Nurse Oliver is caring for a client immediately after removal of the endotracheal tube. The nurse reports which of the following signs immediately if experienced by the client?

A. Stridor
B. Occasional pink-tinged sputum
C. A few basilar lung crackles on the right
D. Respiratory rate 24 breaths/min

23. An emergency room nurse is assessing a male client who has sustained a blunt injury to the chest wall. Which of these signs would indicate the presence of a pneumothorax in this client?

A. A low respiratory rate
B. Diminished breath sounds
C. The presence of a barrel chest
D. A sucking sound at the site of injury

24. Nurse Reese is caring for a client hospitalized with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Which of the following would the nurse expect to note on assessment of this client?

A. Hypocapnia
B. A hyperinflated chest noted on the chest x-ray
C. Increased oxygen saturation with exercise
D. A widened diaphragm noted on the chest x-ray

25. An oxygen delivery system is prescribed for a male client with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to deliver a precise oxygen concentration. Which of the following types of oxygen delivery systems would the nurse anticipate to be prescribed?

A. Face tent
B. Venturi mask
C. Aerosol mask
D. Tracheostomy collar

26. Blessy, a community health nurse is conducting an educational session with community members regarding tuberculosis. The nurse tells the group that one of the first symptoms associated with tuberculosis is:

A. Dyspnea
B. Chest pain
C. A bloody, productive cough
D. A cough with the expectoration of mucoid sputum

27. A nurse performs an admission assessment on a female client with a diagnosis of tuberculosis. The nurse reviews the result of which diagnosis test that will confirm this diagnosis?

A. Bronchoscopy
B. Sputum culture
C. Chest x-ray
D. Tuberculin skin test

28. A nurse is caring for a male client with emphysema who is receiving oxygen. The nurse assesses the oxygen flow rate to ensure that it does not exceed:

A. 1 L/min
B. 2 L/min
C. 6 L/min
D. 10 L/min

29. A nurse instructs a female client to use the pursed-lip method of breathing and the client asks the nurse about the purpose of this type of breathing. The nurse responds, knowing that the primary purpose of pursed-lip breathing is to:

A. Promote oxygen intake
B. Strengthen the diaphragm
C. Strengthen the intercostal muscles
D. Promote carbon dioxide elimination

30. A nurse is caring for a male client with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Which of the following would the nurse expect to note in the client?

A. Pallor
B. Low arterial PaO2
C. Elevated arterial PaO2
D. Decreased respiratory rate

31. A nurse is preparing to obtain a sputum specimen from a male client. Which of the following nursing actions will facilitate obtaining the specimen?

A. Limiting fluid
B. Having the client take deep breaths
C. Asking the client to spit into the collection container
D. Asking the client to obtain the specimen after eating

32. Nurse Joy is caring for a client after a bronchoscopy and biopsy. Which of the following signs, if noticed in the client, should be reported immediately to the physician?

A. Dry cough
B. Hematuria
C. Bronchospasm
D. Blood-streaked sputum

33. A nurse is suctioning fluids from a male client via a tracheostomy tube. When suctioning, the nurse must limit the suctioning time to a maximum of:

A. 1 minute
B. 5 seconds
C. 10 seconds
D. 30 seconds

34. A nurse is suctioning fluids from a female client through an endotracheal tube. During the suctioning procedure, the nurse notes on the monitor that the heart rate is decreasing. Which if the following is the appropriate nursing intervention?

A. Continue to suction
B. Notify the physician immediately
C. Stop the procedure and reoxygenate the client
D. Ensure that the suction is limited to 15 seconds

35. A male adult client is suspected of having a pulmonary embolus. A nurse assesses the client, knowing that which of the following is a common clinical manifestation of pulmonary embolism?

A. Dyspnea
B. Bradypnea
C. Bradycardia
D. Decreased respirations

36. A slightly obese female client with a history of allergy-induced asthma, hypertension, and mitral valve prolapse is admitted to an acute care facility for elective surgery. The nurse obtains a complete history and performs a thorough physical examination, paying special attention to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. When percussing the client’s chest wall, the nurse expects to elicit:

A. Resonant sounds.
B. Hyperresonant sounds.
C. Dull sounds.
D. Flat sounds.

37. A male client who weighs 175 lb (79.4 kg) is receiving aminophylline (Aminophyllin) (400 mg in 500 ml) at 50 ml/hour. The theophylline level is reported as 6 mcg/ml. The nurse calls the physician who instructs the nurse to change the dosage to 0.45 mg/kg/hour. The nurse should:

A. Question the order because it’s too low.
B. Question the order because it’s too high.
C. Set the pump at 45 ml/hour.
D. Stop the infusion and have the laboratory repeat the theophylline measurement.

38. The nurse is teaching a male client with chronic bronchitis about breathing exercises. Which of the following should the nurse include in the teaching?

A. Make inhalation longer than exhalation.
B. Exhale through an open mouth.
C. Use diaphragmatic breathing.
D. Use chest breathing.

39. Which phrase is used to describe the volume of air inspired and expired with a normal breath?

A. Total lung capacity
B. Forced vital capacity
C. Tidal volume
D. Residual volume

40. A male client abruptly sits up in bed, reports having difficulty breathing and has an arterial oxygen saturation of 88%. Which mode of oxygen delivery would most likely reverse the manifestations?

A. Simple mask
B. Non-rebreather mask
C. Face tent
D. Nasal cannula

41. A female client must take streptomycin for tuberculosis. Before therapy begins, the nurse should instruct the client to notify the physician if which health concern occurs?

A. Impaired color discrimination
B. Increased urinary frequency
C. Decreased hearing acuity
D. Increased appetite

42. A male client is asking the nurse a question regarding the Mantoux test for tuberculosis. The nurse should base her response on the fact that the:

A. Area of redness is measured in 3 days and determines whether tuberculosis is present.
B. Skin test doesn’t differentiate between active and dormant tuberculosis infection.
C. Presence of a wheal at the injection site in 2 days indicates active tuberculosis.
D. Test stimulates a reddened response in some clients and requires a second test in 3 months.

43. A female adult client has a tracheostomy but doesn’t require continuous mechanical ventilation. When weaning the client from the tracheostomy tube, the nurse initially should plug the opening in the tube for:

A. 15 to 60 seconds.
B. 5 to 20 minutes.
C. 30 to 40 minutes.
D. 45 to 60 minutes.

44. Nurse Oliver observes constant bubbling in the water-seal chamber of a closed chest drainage system. What should the nurse conclude?

A. The system is functioning normally
B. The client has a pneumothorax.
C. The system has an air leak.
D. The chest tube is obstructed.

45. A black client with asthma seeks emergency care for acute respiratory distress. Because of this client’s dark skin, the nurse should assess for cyanosis by inspecting the:

A. Lips.
B. Mucous membranes.
C. Nail beds.
D. Earlobes.

46. For a male client with an endotracheal (ET) tube, which nursing action is most essential?

A. Auscultating the lungs for bilateral breath sounds
B. Turning the client from side to side every 2 hours
C. Monitoring serial blood gas values every 4 hours
D. Providing frequent oral hygiene

47. The nurse assesses a male client’s respiratory status. Which observation indicates that the client is experiencing difficulty breathing?

A. Diaphragmatic breathing
B. Use of accessory muscles
C. Pursed-lip breathing
D. Controlled breathing

48. A female client is undergoing a complete physical examination as a requirement for college. When checking the client’s respiratory status, the nurse observes respiratory excursion to help assess:

A. Lung vibrations.
B. Vocal sounds.
C. Breath sounds.
D. Chest movements.

49. A male client comes to the emergency department complaining of sudden onset of diarrhea, anorexia, malaise, cough, headache, and recurrent chills. Based on the client’s history and physical findings, the physician suspects legionnaires’ disease. While awaiting diagnostic test results, the client is admitted to the facility and started on antibiotic therapy. What is the drug of choice for treating legionnaires’ disease?

A. Erythromycin (Erythrocin)
B. Rifampin (Rifadin)
C. Amantadine (Symmetrel)
D. Amphotericin B (Fungizone)

50. A male client with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is recovering from a myocardial infarction. Because the client is extremely weak and can’t produce an effective cough, the nurse should monitor closely for:

A. Pleural effusion.
B. Pulmonary edema.
C. Atelectasis.
D. Oxygen toxicity.

51. The nurse in charge is teaching a client with emphysema how to perform pursed-lip breathing. The client asks the nurse to explain the purpose of this breathing technique. Which explanation should the nurse provide?

A. It helps prevent early airway collapse.
B. It increases inspiratory muscle strength.
C. It decreases use of accessory breathing muscles.
D. It prolongs the inspiratory phase of respiration.

52. After receiving an oral dose of codeine for an intractable cough, the male client asks the nurse, “How long will it take for this drug to work?” How should the nurse respond?

A. In 30 minutes
B. In 1 hour
C. In 2.5 hours
D. In 4 hours

53. A male client suffers adult respiratory distress syndrome as a consequence of shock. The client’s condition deteriorates rapidly, and endotracheal (ET) intubation and mechanical ventilation are initiated. When the high-pressure alarm on the mechanical ventilator sounds, the nurse starts to check for the cause. Which condition triggers the high-pressure alarm?

A. Kinking of the ventilator tubing
B. A disconnected ventilator tube
C. An ET cuff leak
D. A change in the oxygen concentration without resetting the oxygen level alarm

54. A female client with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) takes anhydrous theophylline, 200 mg P.O. every 8 hours. During a routine clinic visit, the client asks the nurse how the drug works. What is the mechanism of action of anhydrous theophylline in treating a nonreversible obstructive airway disease such as COPD?

A. It makes the central respiratory center more sensitive to carbon dioxide and stimulates the respiratory drive.
B. It inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase, decreasing degradation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, a bronchodilator.
C. It stimulates adenosine receptors, causing bronchodilation.
D. It alters diaphragm movement, increasing chest expansion and enhancing the lung’s capacity for gas exchange.

55. A male client with pneumococcal pneumonia is admitted to an acute care facility. The client in the next room is being treated for mycoplasmal pneumonia. Despite the different causes of the various types of pneumonia, all of them share which feature?

A. Inflamed lung tissue
B. Sudden onset
C. Responsiveness to penicillin.
D. Elevated white blood cell (WBC) count

56. A client with Guillain-Barré syndrome develops respiratory acidosis as a result of reduced alveolar ventilation. Which combination of arterial blood gas (ABG) values confirms respiratory acidosis?

A. pH, 5.0; PaCO2 30 mm Hg
B. pH, 7.40; PaCO2 35 mm Hg
C. pH, 7.35; PaCO2 40 mm Hg
D. pH, 7.25; PaCO2 50 mm Hg

57. A male client admitted to an acute care facility with pneumonia is receiving supplemental oxygen, 2 L/minute via nasal cannula. The client’s history includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary artery disease. Because of these history findings, the nurse closely monitors the oxygen flow and the client’s respiratory status. Which complication may arise if the client receives a high oxygen concentration?

A. Apnea
B. Anginal pain
C. Respiratory alkalosis
D. Metabolic acidosis

58. At 11 p.m., a male client is admitted to the emergency department. He has a respiratory rate of 44 breaths/minute. He’s anxious, and wheezes are audible. The client is immediately given oxygen by face mask and methylprednisolone (Depo-medrol) I.V. At 11:30 p.m., the client’s arterial blood oxygen saturation is 86% and he’s still wheezing. The nurse should plan to administer:

A. Alprazolam (Xanax).
B. Propranolol (Inderal)
C. Morphine.
D. Albuterol (Proventil).

59. After undergoing a thoracotomy, a male client is receiving epidural analgesia. Which assessment finding indicates that the client has developed the most serious complication of epidural analgesia?

A. Heightened alertness
B. Increased heart rate
C. Numbness and tingling of the extremities
D. Respiratory depression

60. The nurse in charge formulates a nursing diagnosis of Activity intolerance related to inadequate oxygenation and dyspnea for a client with chronic bronchitis. To minimize this problem, the nurse instructs the client to avoid conditions that increase oxygen demands. Such conditions include:

A. Drinking more than 1,500 ml of fluid daily.
B. Being overweight.
C. Eating a high-protein snack at bedtime.
D. Eating more than three large meals a day.

Answers and Rationale

1. Answer: B. Nervousness

Albuterol may cause nervousness. The inhaled form of the drug may cause dryness and irritation of the nose and throat, not nasal congestion; insomnia, not lethargy; and hypokalemia (with high doses), not hyperkalemia. Other adverse effects of albuterol include tremor, dizziness, headache, tachycardia, palpitations, hypertension, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps.

2. Answer: C. Clear

Normally, nasal drainage in acute rhinitis is clear. Yellow or green drainage indicates spread of the infection to the sinuses. Gray drainage may indicate a secondary infection.

3. Answer: D. Lightheadedness or paresthesia

The patient with respiratory alkalosis may complain of lightheadedness or paresthesia (numbness and tingling in the arms and legs). Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may accompany respiratory acidosis. Hallucinations and tinnitus rare are associated with respiratory alkalosis or any other acid-base imbalance.

4. Answer: D. Elderly patients

Ephedrine is not recommended for elderly patients, who are particularly susceptible to CNS reactions (such as confusion and anxiety) and to cardiovascular reactions (such as increased systolic blood pressure, coldness in the extremities, and anginal pain). Ephedrine is used for its bronchodilator effects with acute and chronic asthma and occasionally for its CNS stimulant actions for narcolepsy. It can be administered to children age 2 and older.

5. Answer: A. Kinking of the ventilator tubing

Conditions that trigger the high-pressure alarm include kinking of the ventilator tubing, bronchospasm or pulmonary embolus, mucus plugging, water in the tube, coughing or biting on endotracheal tube, and the patient’s being out of breathing rhythm with the ventilator. A disconnected ventilator tube or an endotracheal cuff leak would trigger the low pressure alarm. Changing the oxygen concentration without resetting the oxygen level alarm would trigger the oxygen alarm.

6. Answer: D. Fighting the ventilator

Pancuronium, a nondepolarizing blocking agent, is used for muscle relaxation and paralysis. It assists mechanical ventilation by promoting endotracheal intubation and paralyzing the patient so that the mechanical ventilator can do its work. Fighting the ventilator is a sign that the patient needs another pancuronium dose. The nurse should administer 0.01 to 0.02 mg/kg I.V. every 20 to 60 minutes. Movement of the legs, or lips has no effect on the ventilator and therefore is not used to determine the need for another dose.

7. Answer: B. Absence of breaths sound in the right thorax

In pneumothorax, the alveoli are deflated and no air exchange occurs in the lungs. Therefore, breath sounds in the affected lung field are absent. None of the other options are associated with pneumothorax. Bilateral crackles may result from pulmonary congestion, inspiratory wheezes may signal asthma, and a pleural friction rub may indicate pleural inflammation.

8. Answer: B. Arterial Blood

A lowercase “a” in an ABG value represents arterial blood. For instance, the abbreviation PaO2 refers to the partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood. The pH value reflects the acid-base balance in arterial blood. Sa02 indicates arterial oxygen saturation. An uppercase “A” represents alveolar conditions: for example, PA02 indicates the partial pressure of oxygen in the alveoli.

9. Answer: D. Impaired gas exchange related to airflow obstruction

A patient airway and an adequate breathing pattern are the top priority for any patient, making “impaired gas exchange related to airflow obstruction” the most important nursing diagnosis. The other options also may apply to this patient but less important.

10. Answer: D. Contralateral side in hemothorax

The trachea will shift according to the pressure gradients within the thoracic cavity. In tension pneumothorax and hemothorax, accumulation of air or fluid causes a shift away from the injured side. If there is no significant air or fluid accumulation, the trachea will not shift. Tracheal deviation toward the contralateral side in simple pneumothorax is seen when the thoracic contents shift in response to the release of normal thoracic pressure gradients on the injured side.

11. Answer: C. Encourage coughing and deep breathing

When caring for a patient who is recovering from a pneumonectomy, the nurse should encourage coughing and deep breathing to prevent pneumonia in the unaffected lung. Because the lung has been removed, the water-seal chamber should display no fluctuations. Reinflation is not the purpose of chest tube. Chest tube milking is controversial and should be done only to remove blood clots that obstruct the flow of drainage.

12. Answer: B. Develop an alternative communication method

A patient with a laryngectomy cannot speak, yet still needs to communicate. Therefore, the nurse should plan to develop an alternative communication method. After a laryngectomy, edema interferes with the ability to swallow and necessitates tube (enteral) feedings. To prevent injury to the tracheal mucosa, the nurse should deflate the tracheostomy cuff or use the minimal leak technique. To decrease edema, the nurse should place the patient in semi-Fowler’s position.

13. Answer: B. Applying a dressing over the wound and taping it on three sides

The nurse immediately should apply a dressing over the stab wound and tape it on three sides to allow air to escape and to prevent tension pneumothorax (which is more life-threatening than an open chest wound). Only after covering and taping the wound should the nurse draw blood for laboratory tests, assist with chest tube insertion, and start an I.V. line.

14. Answer: C. Using a high-flow venture mask to deliver oxygen as prescribe

The patient with COPD retains carbon dioxide, which inhibits stimulation of breathing by the medullary center in the brain. As a result, low oxygen levels in the blood stimulate respiration, and administering unspecified, unmonitored amounts of oxygen may depress ventilation. To promote adequate gas exchange, the nurse should use a Venturi mask to deliver a specified, controlled amount of oxygen consistently and accurately. Drinking three glasses of fluid daily would not affect gas exchange or be sufficient to liquefy secretions, which are common in COPD. Patients with COPD and respiratory distress should be places in high-Fowler’s position and should not receive sedatives or other drugs that may further depress the respiratory center.

15. Answer: C. Increased pulmonary capillary permeability

ARDS results from increased pulmonary capillary permeability, which leads to noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. In cardiogenic pulmonary edema, pulmonary congestion occurs secondary to heart failure. In the initial stage of ARDS, respiratory alkalosis may arise secondary to hyperventilation; however, it does not cause ARDS. Renal failure does not cause ARDS, either.

16. Answer: C. Teaching the patient how to perform controlled coughing

Controlled coughing helps maintain a patent airway by helping to mobilize and remove secretions. A moderate fluid intake (usually 2 L or more daily) and moderate activity help liquefy and mobilize secretions. Bed rest and sedatives may limit the patient’s ability to maintain a patent airway, causing a high risk for infection from pooled secretions.

17. Answer: A. Do nothing, because this is an expected finding

Continuous gentle bubbling should be noted in the suction control chamber. Option b is incorrect. Chest tubes should only be clamped to check for an air leak or when changing drainage devices (according to agency policy). Option c is incorrect. Bubbling should be continuous and not intermittent. Option d is incorrect because bubbling should be gentle. Increasing the suction pressure only increases the rate of evaporation of water in the drainage system.

18. Answer: B. Continue to monitor the client

The presence of fluctuation of the fluid level in the water seal chamber indicates a patent drainage system. With normal breathing, the water level rises with inspiration and falls with expiration. Fluctuation stops if the tube is obstructed, if a dependent loop exists, if the suction is not working properly, or if the lung has reexpanded. Options A, C, and D are incorrect.

19. Answer: B. Place the tube in bottle of sterile water

If the chest drainage system is disconnected, the end of the tube is placed in a bottle of sterile water held below the level of the chest. The system is replaced if it breaks or cracks or if the collection chamber is full. Placing a sterile dressing over the disconnection site will not prevent complications resulting from the disconnection. The physician may need to be notified, but this is not the initial action.

20. Answer: D. Perform the Valsalva maneuver

When the chest tube is removed, the client is asked to perform the Valsalva maneuver (take a deep breath, exhale, and bear down). The tube is quickly withdrawn, and an airtight dressing is taped in place. An alternative instruction is to ask the client to take a deep breath and hold the breath while the tube is removed. Options A, B, and C are incorrect client instructions.

21. Answer: B. Grasp the retention sutures to spread the opening

If the tube is dislodged accidentally, the initial nursing action is to grasp the retention sutures and spread the opening. If agency policy permits, the nurse then attempts immediately to replace the tube. Covering the tracheostomy site will block the airway. Options A and C will delay treatment in this emergency situation.

22. Answer: A. Stridor

The nurse reports stridor to the physician immediately. This is a high-pitched, coarse sound that is heard with the stethoscope over the trachea. Stridor indicates airway edema and places the client at risk for airway obstruction. Options B, C, and D are not signs that require immediate notification of the physician.

23. Answer: B. Diminished breath sounds

This client has sustained a blunt or a closed chest injury. Basic symptoms of a closed pneumothorax are shortness of breath and chest pain. A larger pneumothorax may cause tachypnea, cyanosis, diminished breath sounds, and subcutaneous emphysema. Hyperresonance also may occur on the affected side. A sucking sound at the site of injury would be noted with an open chest injury.

24. Answer: B. A hyperinflated chest noted on the chest x-ray

Clinical manifestations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) include hypoxemia, hypercapnia, dyspnea on exertion and at rest, oxygen desaturation with exercise, and the use of accessory muscles of respiration. Chest x-rays reveal a hyperinflated chest and a flattened diaphragm if the disease is advanced.

25. Answer: B. Venturi mask

The Venturi mask delivers the most accurate oxygen concentration. It is the best oxygen delivery system for the client with chronic airflow limitation because it delivers a precise oxygen concentration. The face tent, aerosol mask, and tracheostomy collar are also high-flow oxygen delivery systems but most often are used to administer high humidity.

26. Answer: D. A cough with the expectoration of mucoid sputum

One of the first pulmonary symptoms is a slight cough with the expectoration of mucoid sputum. Options A, B, and C are late symptoms and signify cavitation and extensive lung involvement.

27. Answer: B. Sputum culture

Tuberculosis is definitively diagnosed through culture and isolation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A presumptive diagnosis is made based on a tuberculin skin test, a sputum smear that is positive for acid-fast bacteria, a chest x-ray, and histological evidence of granulomatous disease on biopsy.

28. Answer: B. 2 L/min

Oxygen is used cautiously and should not exceed 2 L/min. Because of the long-standing hypercapnia that occurs in emphysema, the respiratory drive is triggered by low oxygen levels rather than increased carbon dioxide levels, as is the case in a normal respiratory system.

29. Answer: D. Promote carbon dioxide elimination

Pursed-lip breathing facilitates maximal expiration for clients with obstructive lung disease. This type of breathing allows better expiration by increasing airway pressure that keeps air passages open during exhalation. Options A, B, and C are not the purposes of this type of breathing.

30. Answer: B. Low arterial PaO2

The earliest clinical sign of acute respiratory distress syndrome is an increased respiratory rate. Breathing becomes labored, and the client may exhibit air hunger, retractions, and cyanosis. Arterial blood gas analysis reveals increasing hypoxemia, with a PaO2 lower than 60 mm Hg.

31.  Answer: B. Having the client take deep breaths

To obtain a sputum specimen, the client should rinse the mouth to reduce contamination, breathe deeply, and then cough into a sputum specimen container. The client should be encouraged to cough and not spit so as to obtain sputum. Sputum can be thinned by fluids or by a respiratory treatment such as inhalation of nebulized saline or water. The optimal time to obtain a specimen is on arising in the morning.

32.  Answer: C. Bronchospasm

If a biopsy was performed during a bronchoscopy, blood-streaked sputum is expected for several hours. Frank blood indicates hemorrhage. A dry cough may be expected. The client should be assessed for signs of complications, which would include cyanosis, dyspnea, stridor, bronchospasm, hemoptysis, hypotension, tachycardia, and dysrhythmias. Hematuria is unrelated to this procedure.

33.  Answer: C. 10 seconds

Hypoxemia can be caused by prolonged suctioning, which stimulates the pacemaker cells in the heart. A vasovagal response may occur, causing bradycardia. The nurse must preoxygenate the client before suctioning and limit the suctioning pass to 10 seconds.

34.  Answer: C. Stop the procedure and reoxygenate the client

During suctioning, the nurse should monitor the client closely for side effects, including hypoxemia, cardiac irregularities such as a decrease in heart rate resulting from vagal stimulation, mucosal trauma, hypotension, and paroxysmal coughing. If side effects develop, especially cardiac irregularities, the procedure is stopped and the client is reoxygenated.

35.  Answer: A. Dyspnea

The common clinical manifestations of pulmonary embolism are tachypnea, tachycardia, dyspnea, and chest pain.

36.  Answer: A. Resonant sounds.

When percussing the chest wall, the nurse expects to elicit resonant sounds — low-pitched, hollow sounds heard over normal lung tissue. Hyperresonant sounds indicate increased air in the lungs or pleural space; they’re louder and lower pitched than resonant sounds. Although hyperresonant sounds occur in such disorders as emphysema and pneumothorax, they may be normal in children and very thin adults. Dull sounds, normally heard only over the liver and heart, may occur over dense lung tissue, such as from consolidation or a tumor. Dull sounds are thudlike and of medium pitch. Flat sounds, soft and high-pitched, are heard over airless tissue and can be replicated by percussing the thigh or a bony structure.

37.  Answer: A. Question the order because it’s too low.

A therapeutic theophylline level is 10 to 20 mcg/ml. The client is currently receiving 0.5 mg/kg/hour of aminophylline. Because the client’s theophylline level is sub-therapeutic, reducing the dose (which is what the physician’s order would do) would be inappropriate. Therefore, the nurse should question the order.

38.  Answer: C. Use diaphragmatic breathing.

In chronic bronchitis the diaphragm is flat and weak. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to strengthen the diaphragm and maximizes ventilation. Exhalation should be longer than inhalation to prevent collapse of the bronchioles. The client with chronic bronchitis should exhale through pursed lips to prolong exhalation, keep the bronchioles from collapsing, and prevent air trapping. Diaphragmatic breathing — not chest breathing — increases lung expansion.

39.  Answer: C. Tidal volume

Tidal volume refers to the volume of air inspired and expired with a normal breath. Total lung capacity is the maximal amount of air the lungs and respiratory passages can hold after a forced inspiration. Forced vital capacity is the vital capacity performed with a maximally forced expiration. Residual volume is the maximal amount of air left in the lung after a maximal expiration.

40.  Answer: B. Non-rebreather mask

A non-rebreather mask can deliver levels of the fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2) as high as 100%. Other modes — simple mask, face tent, and nasal cannula — deliver lower levels of FIO2.

41.  Answer: C. Decreased hearing acuity

Decreased hearing acuity indicates ototoxicity, a serious adverse effect of streptomycin therapy. The client should notify the physician immediately if it occurs so that streptomycin can be discontinued and an alternative drug can be prescribed. The other options aren’t associated with streptomycin. Impaired color discrimination indicates color blindness; increased urinary frequency and increased appetite accompany diabetes mellitus.

42.  Answer: B. Skin test doesn’t differentiate between active and dormant tuberculosis infection.

The Mantoux test doesn’t differentiate between active and dormant infections. If a positive reaction occurs, a sputum smear and culture as well as a chest X-ray are necessary to provide more information. Although the area of redness is measured in 3 days, a second test may be needed; neither test indicates that tuberculosis is active. In the Mantoux test, an induration 5 to 9 mm in diameter indicates a borderline reaction; a larger induration indicates a positive reaction. The presence of a wheal within 2 days doesn’t indicate active tuberculosis.

43.  Answer: B. B. 5 to 20 minutes.

Initially, the nurse should plug the opening in the tracheostomy tube for 5 to 20 minutes, then gradually lengthen this interval according to the client’s respiratory status. A client who doesn’t require continuous mechanical ventilation already is breathing without assistance, at least for short periods; therefore, plugging the opening of the tube for only 15 to 60 seconds wouldn’t be long enough to reveal the client’s true tolerance to the procedure. Plugging the opening for more than 20 minutes would increase the risk of acute respiratory distress because the client requires an adjustment period to start breathing normally.

44.  Answer: C. The system has an air leak.

Constant bubbling in the chamber indicates an air leak and requires immediate intervention. The client with a pneumothorax will have intermittent bubbling in the water-seal chamber. Clients without a pneumothorax should have no evidence of bubbling in the chamber. If the tube is obstructed, the nurse should notice that the fluid has stopped fluctuating in the water-seal chamber.

45.  Answer: B. Mucous membranes.

Skin color doesn’t affect the mucous membranes. The lips, nail beds, and earlobes are less reliable indicators of cyanosis because they’re affected by skin color.

46.  Answer: A. Auscultating the lungs for bilateral breath sounds

For a client with an ET tube, the most important nursing action is auscultating the lungs regularly for bilateral breath sounds to ensure proper tube placement and effective oxygen delivery. Although the other options are appropriate for this client, they’re secondary to ensuring adequate oxygenation.

47.  Answer: B. Use of accessory muscles

The use of accessory muscles for respiration indicates the client is having difficulty breathing. Diaphragmatic and pursed-lip breathing are two controlled breathing techniques that help the client conserve energy.

48.  Answer: D. Chest movements.

The nurse observes respiratory excursion to help assess chest movements. Normally, thoracic expansion is symmetrical; unequal expansion may indicate pleural effusion, atelectasis, pulmonary embolus, or a rib or sternum fracture. The nurse assesses vocal sounds to evaluate air flow when checking for tactile fremitus; after asking the client to say “99,” the nurse palpates the vibrations transmitted from the bronchopulmonary system along the solid surfaces of the chest wall to the nurse’s palms. The nurse assesses breath sounds during auscultation.

49.  Answer: A. Erythromycin (Erythrocin)

Erythromycin is the drug of choice for treating legionnaires’ disease. Rifampin may be added to the regimen if erythromycin alone is ineffective; however, it isn’t administered first. Amantadine, an antiviral agent, and amphotericin B, an antifungal agent, are ineffective against legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by bacterial infection.

50.  Answer: C. Atelectasis.

In a client with COPD, an ineffective cough impedes secretion removal. This, in turn, causes mucus plugging, which leads to localized airway obstruction — a known cause of atelectasis. An ineffective cough doesn’t cause pleural effusion (fluid accumulation in the pleural space). Pulmonary edema usually results from left-sided heart failure, not an ineffective cough. Although many noncardiac conditions may cause pulmonary edema, an ineffective cough isn’t one of them. Oxygen toxicity results from prolonged administration of high oxygen concentrations, not an ineffective cough.

51.  Answer: A. It helps prevent early airway collapse.

Pursed-lip breathing helps prevent early airway collapse. Learning this technique helps the client control respiration during periods of excitement, anxiety, exercise, and respiratory distress. To increase inspiratory muscle strength and endurance, the client may need to learn inspiratory resistive breathing. To decrease accessory muscle use and thus reduce the work of breathing, the client may need to learn diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing. In pursed-lip breathing, the client mimics a normal inspiratory-expiratory (I:E) ratio of 1:2. (A client with emphysema may have an I:E ratio as high as 1:4.)

52.  Answer: A. In 30 minutes

Codeine’s onset of action is 30 minutes. Its peak concentration occurs in about 1 hour; its half-life, in 2.5 hours; and its duration of action is 4 to 6 hours.

53.  Answer: A. Kinking of the ventilator tubing

Conditions that trigger the high-pressure alarm include kinking of the ventilator tubing, bronchospasm or pulmonary embolus, mucus plugging, water in the tube, coughing or biting on the ET tube, and the client’s being out of breathing rhythm with the ventilator. A disconnected ventilator tube or an ET cuff leak would trigger the low-pressure alarm. Changing the oxygen concentration without resetting the oxygen level alarm would trigger the oxygen alarm.

54.  Answer: A. It makes the central respiratory center more sensitive to carbon dioxide and stimulates the respiratory drive.

Anhydrous theophylline and other methylxanthine agents make the central respiratory center more sensitive to CO2 and stimulate the respiratory drive. Inhibition of phosphodiesterase is the drug’s mechanism of action in treating asthma and other reversible obstructive airway diseases — not COPD. Methylxanthine agents inhibit rather than stimulate adenosine receptors. Although these agents reduce diaphragmatic fatigue in clients with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, they don’t alter diaphragm movement to increase chest expansion and enhance gas exchange.

55.  Answer: A. Inflamed lung tissue

The common feature of all types of pneumonia is an inflammatory pulmonary response to the offending organism or agent. Although most types of pneumonia have a sudden onset, a few (such as anaerobic bacterial pneumonia and mycoplasmal pneumonia) have an insidious onset. Antibiotic therapy is the primary treatment for most types of pneumonia; however, the antibiotic must be specific for the causative agent, which may not be responsive to penicillin. A few types of pneumonia, such as viral pneumonia, aren’t treated with antibiotics. Although pneumonia usually causes an elevated WBC count, some types, such as mycoplasmal pneumonia, don’t.

56.  Answer: D. pH, 7.25; PaCO2 50 mm Hg

In respiratory acidosis, ABG analysis reveals an arterial pH below 7.35 and partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide (PaCO2) above 45 mm Hg. Therefore, the combination of a pH value of 7.25 and a PaCO2 value of 50 mm Hg confirms respiratory acidosis. A pH value of 5.0 with a PaCO2 value of 30 mm Hg indicates respiratory alkalosis. Options B and C represent normal ABG values, reflecting normal gas exchange in the lungs.

57.  Answer: A. Apnea

Hypoxia is the main breathing stimulus for a client with COPD. Excessive oxygen administration may lead to apnea by removing that stimulus. Anginal pain results from a reduced myocardial oxygen supply. A client with COPD may have anginal pain from generalized vasoconstriction secondary to hypoxia; however, administering oxygen at any concentration dilates blood vessels, easing anginal pain. Respiratory alkalosis results from alveolar hyperventilation, not excessive oxygen administration. In a client with COPD, high oxygen concentrations decrease the ventilatory drive, leading to respiratory acidosis, not alkalosis. High oxygen concentrations don’t cause metabolic acidosis.

58.  Answer: D. Albuterol (Proventil).

The client is hypoxemic because of bronchoconstriction as evidenced by wheezes and a subnormal arterial oxygen saturation level. The client’s greatest need is bronchodilation, which can be accomplished by administering bronchodilators. Albuterol is a beta2 adrenergic agonist, which causes dilation of the bronchioles. It’s given by nebulization or metered-dose inhalation and may be given as often as every 30 to 60 minutes until relief is accomplished. Alprazolam is an anxiolytic and central nervous system depressant, which could suppress the client’s breathing. Propranolol is contraindicated in a client who’s wheezing because it’s a beta2 adrenergic antagonist. Morphine is a respiratory center depressant and is contraindicated in this situation.

59.  Answer: D. Respiratory depression

Respiratory depression is the most serious complication of epidural analgesia. Other potential complications include hypotension, decreased sensation and movement of the extremities, allergic reactions, and urine retention. Typically, epidural analgesia causes central nervous system depression (indicated by drowsiness) as well as a decreased heart rate and blood pressure.

60.  Answer: B. Being overweight.

Conditions that increase oxygen demands include obesity, smoking, exposure to temperature extremes, and stress. A client with chronic bronchitis should drink at least 2,000 ml of fluid daily to thin mucus secretions; restricting fluid intake may be harmful. The nurse should encourage the client to eat a high-protein snack at bedtime because protein digestion produces an amino acid with sedating effects that may ease the insomnia associated with chronic bronchitis. Eating more than three large meals a day may cause fullness, making breathing uncomfortable and difficult; however, it doesn’t increase oxygen demands. To help maintain adequate nutritional intake, the client with chronic bronchitis should eat small, frequent meals (up to six a day).

See Also

You may also like these other quizzes and exam tip articles:

Study Guides

Cardiovascular System

Respiratory System

Nervous System

Digestive and Gastrointestinal System

Endocrine System

Urinary System

Homeostasis: Fluids and Electrolytes

Cancer and Oncology Nursing

Burns and Burn Injury Management

Emergency Nursing


Recommended Books and Resources

Selected NCLEX-RN review books: 

  1.  MUST HAVE  Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN® Examination, 7th Edition – A must-have book if you're taking the NCLEX-RN. You need to have this.
  2. Saunders Strategies for Success for the NCLEX – An invaluable guide that will help you master what matters most in passing nursing school and the NCLEX. 
  3. Mosby's Comprehensive Review of Nursing for NCLEX-RN – This book has helped nurses pass the NCLEX exam for over 60 years. Practice with over 600 alternative item question formats. 
  4. Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN – A different approach to NCLEX-RN review. 
  5. Prioritization, Delegation, and Assignment: Practice Exercises for the NCLEX Examination – An NCLEX review book that focuses on prioritization, delegation, and patient assignment. 



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