Four hours after a cast has been applied for a fractured ulna, the nurse assesses that the client’s fingers are pale and cool and capillary refill is delayed for 4 seconds. How should the nurse interpret these findings?
1. Nerve impairment is developing in the fingers.
2. Arterial blood supply to the fingers is decreased.
3. Venous stasis is occurring in the fingers.
4. The finding is normal for this recovery period.
The pallor and cool temperature of the fingers and the decreased return time for capillary refill indicate decreased arterial blood supply to the fingers. These findings are not normal for any time in the recovery process. Nerve impairment includes numbness, tingling, and impaired movement of the fingers. Signs of venous stasis include edema and reddening of the fingers, not pallor and cool temperature.
CN: Physiological adaptation; CL: Analyze