c. Lymph Nodes. Occurring in groups up to a dozen or more, lymph nodes lie
along the course of lymph vessels. Although variable in size, they are usually small
oval bodies that are composed of lymphoid tissue. Lymph nodes act as filters for
removal of infective organisms from the lymph stream. Important groups of these nodes
are located in the axilla, the cervical region, the sub maxillary region, the inguinal (groin)
region, and the mesenteric (abdominal) region.
d. Infection and the Lymphatic System. Lymph vessels and lymph nodes
often become inflamed as the result of infection. An infection in the hand may cause
inflammation of the lymph vessels as high as the axilla (armpit). A sore throat may
cause inflammation and swelling of lymph nodes in the neck (submandibular nodes
below the jaw and cervical nodes posteriorly).
e. Spleen. The largest collection of lymphoid tissue in the body, the spleen is
located high in the abdominal cavity on the left side, below the diaphragm and behind
the stomach. It is somewhat long and ovoid (egg- shaped). Although it can be removed
(splenectomy) without noticeable harmful effects, the spleen has useful functions, such
as serving as a reservoir for blood and red blood cells.
Section II. DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES
a. Cardiovascular diagnostic tests and examinations are conducted by order of
the physician to help him determine the nature of the specific disease condition. Many
of these tests or examinations may be repeated at intervals to determine the patient's
progress or response to prescribed treatment. While some are performed on the
nursing unit, many others are conducted only in special laboratories and hospital clinics.
b. The nursing paraprofessional's role in assisting with diagnostic tests and
collection of specimens will vary, depending upon the test, the specimen, the condition
of the patient, and the local situation and policy. Although they may seldom perform
any part of the test themselves, they should be acquainted with those commonly
performed in order to give intelligent patient care and appropriate assistance to the
doctor, nurse, or technician. In general, they should know:
(1) How and why the procedure is done and what, if any, reaction is
expected from it.
(2) What explanation and physical care the patient should have before,
during, and after the procedure. The informed, prepared patient is more apt to
cooperate and to tolerate any inconvenience or discomfort incidental to the test.