A nurse is caring for a client with a nasogastric tube. Nasogastric tube irrigations are prescribed to be performed once every shift. The clients serum electrolyte results indicate a potassium level of 4.5 mEq/L and a sodium level of 132 mEq/L. Based on these laboratory findings, the nurse selects which solution to use for the nasogastric tube irrigation?
A. Tap water B. Sterile water C. Sodium chloride D. Distilled water
Rationale: A potassium level of 4.5 mEq/L is within normal range. A sodium level of 132 mEq/L is low, indicating hyponatremia. In clients with hyponatremia, sodium chloride (isotonic) should be used rather than water for gastrointestinal irrigations.
Test-Taking Strategy: Use the process of elimination. Eliminate options A, B, and D because they are comparative or alike (sterile water, tap water, and distilled water). Also, recalling that the serum sodium level identified in the question indicates hyponatremia will direct you to option C. If you had difficulty with this question, review the care of the client experiencing hyponatremia.