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Chapter: Medical Surgical Nursing: Management of Patients With Immunodeficiency

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Management of Patients With Immunodeficiency

Immunodeficiency disorders may be caused by a defect or defi-ciency in phagocytic cells, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, or the complement system.

Management of Patients With Immunodeficiency

 

Immunodeficiency disorders may be caused by a defect or defi-ciency in phagocytic cells, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, or the complement system. The specific symptoms and their severity, age of onset, and prognosis depend on the immune system com-ponents affected and their degree of functional impairment. Regardless of the underlying cause, the cardinal symptoms of immunodeficiency include chronic or recurrent severe infections, infections caused by unusual organisms or organisms that are normal body flora, poor response to treatment of infections, and chronic diarrhea. In addition, the patient is susceptible to a variety of secondary disorders, including cancer (Buckley, 2000).

 

Immunodeficiencies may be classified as either primary or sec-ondary and by the components of the immune system that are af-fected. Primary immunodeficiency diseases are genetic in origin and are caused by intrinsic defects in the cells of the immune sys-tem. This is in contrast to secondary immunodeficiencies such as AIDS, caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Knowledge of the immune system and of the possibility of secondary disorders, skillful assessment and management, and sensitivity and responsiveness to the learning needs of the patient and caregiver are the essential elements for effective nursing care.

 

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