NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

Sample Answer for NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis  Included After Question

An understanding of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems is a critically important component of disease diagnosis and treatment. This importance is magnified by the fact that these two systems work so closely together. A variety of factors and circumstances that impact the emergence and severity of issues in one system can have a role in the performance of the other. 

Effective disease analysis often requires an understanding that goes beyond these systems and their capacity to work together. The impact of patient characteristics, as well as racial and ethnic variables, can also have an important impact. 

NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis
NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

Photo Credit: yodiyim / Adobe Stock 

An understanding of the symptoms of alterations in cardiovascular and respiratory systems is a critical step in diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. For APRNs this understanding can also help educate patients and guide them through their treatment plans. 

In this Assignment, you examine a case study and analyze the symptoms presented. You identify the elements that may be factors in the diagnosis, and you explain the implications to patient health. 

To prepare: 

By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific case study scenario for this Case Study Assignment. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor. 

Assignment (1- to 2-page case study analysis) 

In your Case Study Analysis related to the scenario provided, explain the following 

  • The cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary pathophysiologic processes that result in the patient presenting these symptoms. 
  • Any racial/ethnic variables that may impact physiological functioning. 
  • How these processes interact to affect the patient. 

By Day 7 of Week 4 

Submit your Case Study Analysis Assignment by Day 7 of Week 4 

Reminder: The College of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The sample paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at All papers submitted must use this formatting. 

Submission and Grading Information 

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following: 

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “M2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name. 
  • Click the Module 2 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment. 
  • Click the Module 2 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area. 
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “M2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open. 
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database. 
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission. 

Grading Criteria 


To access your rubric: 

Module 2 Assignment Rubric 


Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity 


To check your Assignment draft for authenticity: 

Submit your Module 2 Assignment draft and review the originality report. 


Submit Your Assignment by Day 7 of Week 4 


To participate in this Assignment: 

Module 2 Assignment 

A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

Title: NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis


This case study analysis examines the presentation of a 24-year-old female administrative assistant who presents to the emergency department with severe right-sided headaches. The patient reports experiencing these headaches on six occasions in the last two months, with each episode lasting 2-3 days and significantly impacting her ability to concentrate at work. Additionally, she complains of nausea, photophobia (light sensitivity), and has vomited three times in the last 3 hours. The severity of her headache is rated as 10/10 at the time of presentation, and while she has attempted to alleviate her symptoms with ibuprofen and acetaminophen, her relief has been partial. This analysis will explore the underlying neurological and musculoskeletal pathophysiologic processes that may account for the patient’s symptoms and consider any potential racial/ethnic variables that could impact physiological functioning in the context of her condition. Furthermore, the interaction between these processes and how they contribute to the patient’s overall presentation will be investigated. By analysing these aspects, we aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors at play in this patient’s case and provide valuable insights for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Neurological Pathophysiologic Processes in Migraine

Migraine is a complex headache disorder involving neurological dysfunction. The patient’s presentation of severe right-sided headache, photophobia, nausea, and vomiting is characteristic of migraine. Migraines are thought to be triggered by cortical spreading depression, a phenomenon where there is a wave of neuronal depolarization followed by prolonged suppression of neuronal activity. This process likely occurs in the brainstem and thalamus, which are responsible for sensory processing, including pain (Mignot et al., 2023).

Photophobia and nausea are linked to abnormal brainstem processing of visual and vestibular information. The thalamus, known for relaying sensory information to the cortex, may also play a role in the amplification of pain signals during migraines (Kuburas & Russo, 2023). Additionally, the abnormal release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), contributes to the dilation of blood vessels and inflammation in the brain, leading to the characteristic throbbing headache. Serotonin, in particular, plays a vital role in regulating pain pathways and mood, and alterations in serotonin levels have been associated with migraine susceptibility.

Musculoskeletal Pathophysiologic Processes and Sedentary Lifestyle

The patient’s role as an administrative assistant involves long periods of sitting at a desk, using a computer, and performing tasks that promote a sedentary lifestyle. This sedentary work environment can lead to muscular tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders due to prolonged poor posture and reduced physical activity. These musculoskeletal issues can potentially contribute to triggering or exacerbating headaches, including migraines (Di Antonio et al., 2021). The increased muscular strain in the neck and shoulder regions can indeed lead to discomfort during a migraine episode.

Interaction of Neurological and Musculoskeletal Processes

The interaction between neurological and musculoskeletal processes can significantly impact the patient’s migraine experience. The muscular tension and pain in the neck and shoulders, caused by stress or poor posture, can lead to mechanical stress on the cervical spine, which may contribute to the frequency and severity of headaches. Moreover, stress and anxiety, common migraine triggers, can lead to increased muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, potentially worsening the patient’s condition.

Racial/Ethnic Variables Impacting Physiological Functioning

In the context of the scenario, while the specific racial or ethnic background of the patient is not mentioned, it is important to consider the potential impact of racial/ethnic variables on physiological functioning in the context of migraines. Research has shown that genetic variations can play a significant role in migraine susceptibility (Eng & Tram, 2021). Certain racial and ethnic groups may have a higher prevalence of specific genetic markers associated with migraines. For instance, studies have suggested that African Americans and Asians may have a lower prevalence of migraines compared to Caucasians. Studies have also identified genetic variants related to ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors that can influence migraine development. These genetic differences among racial and ethnic groups may impact the severity and frequency of migraines, as well as the response to treatment.

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating pain pathways and mood, has been linked to migraines. Racial and ethnic groups may exhibit variations in serotonin metabolism, potentially affecting how they experience and respond to migraines. For example, research has indicated that African Americans and Hispanics may be more likely to underreport pain or express pain differently compared to whites. Differences in serotonin receptor binding potential have been found among different racial and ethnic groups, suggesting potential variations in pain perception and migraine pathophysiology.

Cultural beliefs and practices can also influence how migraines are perceived and managed within different racial and ethnic groups. Certain communities may have specific approaches to healthcare and pain management, including the use of traditional remedies or avoidance of certain triggers. For instance, some Asian cultures may emphasize holistic approaches to healthcare and might rely on traditional remedies or mind-body practices for pain relief. Cultural attitudes toward seeking medical care and expressing pain may also impact how migraines are reported and treated.

Furthermore, racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare access and quality of care can impact migraine diagnosis and treatment. Differences in treatment outcomes and symptom management may occur between racial and ethnic groups because of difficulties gaining access to specialized migraine care or acquiring suitable drugs and therapies.

Understanding and considering these racial/ethnic variables is crucial for healthcare providers in delivering personalized and effective care for patients with migraines from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. By recognizing and addressing these factors, healthcare professionals can ensure patient-centered and culturally sensitive care, ultimately improving migraine management and patient outcomes.

Interaction of Processes Affecting the Patient

The neurological and musculoskeletal systems can interact in certain situations, contributing to the severity or recurrence of headaches, including migraines (Greenbaum & Emodi-Perlman, 2023). For example, poor posture or muscular tension in the neck and shoulders can create mechanical stress on the cervical spine and surrounding structures, potentially triggering or exacerbating headaches.

Additionally, stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for migraines, can lead to muscle tension and pain in the neck and shoulders. Conversely, the pain and discomfort from a severe headache can cause the patient to hold their head and neck in abnormal positions, leading to musculoskeletal strain.

To provide optimal care, healthcare providers should consider both the neurological and musculoskeletal aspects when evaluating and treating the patient. A comprehensive approach may involve addressing headache triggers, providing pain relief and anti-nausea medications for acute migraine attacks, and incorporating strategies to manage stress and muscular tension, such as relaxation techniques and physical therapy.


A comprehensive understanding of the neurological and musculoskeletal pathophysiologic processes in migraines, as well as the impact of racial/ethnic variables, is crucial in diagnosing and treating patients with complex symptoms. Addressing the patient’s sedentary lifestyle and potential genetic factors like serotonin levels can aid in developing personalized and effective treatment strategies. Healthcare providers must consider both the physiological and cultural aspects to deliver patient-centered and culturally sensitive care, ultimately improving outcomes and patient satisfaction.


Adisa Kuburas, & Andrew F. Russo. (2023). Shared and independent roles of CGRP and PACAP in migraine pathophysiology. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 24(1), 1–14.

Di Antonio, S., Arendt-Nielsen, L., Ponzano, M., Bovis, F., Torelli, P., Finocchi, C., & Castaldo, M. (2022). Cervical musculoskeletal impairments in the 4 phases of the migraine cycle in episodic migraine patients. Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache, 42(9), 827–845.

Eng, S. M., & Tram, J. M. (2021). The Influence of Family and Community Factors on Ethnic Identity. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 49(1), 32–44.

Mignot, C., Faria, V., Hummel, T., Frost, M., Michel, C. M., Gossrau, G., & Haehner, A. (2023). Migraine with aura: less control over pain and fragrances? The Journal of Headache and Pain, 24(1), 55.

Tzvika Greenbaum, & Alona Emodi-Perlman. (2023). Headache and orofacial pain: A traffic-light prognosis-based management approach for the musculoskeletal practice. Frontiers in Neurology, 14. Case Study Analysis 

A Sample Answer 2 For the Assignment: NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

Title: NURS 6501: Module 2 Assignment: Case Study Analysis

The assigned case study demonstrates a middle age female patient with chief complaints of dyspnea, fever, and cough with thick green sputum production for 3 days. The patient also reports a history of chronic cough and COPD. She claims that the cough has worsened in the past few days. Examination findings reveal a flattened diaphragm and increased AP diameter. The patient also has hyper resonance with rhonchi and coarse rales in all the lung fields. The purpose of this discussion is to provide an analysis of the patient described above and the cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary pathophysiologic processes that contributed to the patient’s symptoms.  

Pathophysiologic Processes 

The patient presents with a history of COPD and chronic cough with thick green sputum. The current symptoms of dyspnea, cough, and fever indicate exacerbation of COPD with complications of a respiratory infection (Hikichi et al., 2018). The patient’s shortness of breath resulted from the obstructed airways secondary to inflammation, sputum hypersecretion, and airway remodeling. Elastic recoil reduction in the lungs following obstruction of the airways and emphysema causes partial air expelling and active hyperinflation (Santus et al., 2019). Accumulation of the mucus leads to coughing by the patient as an attempt to try and clear the airways. The increased production of thick green sputum and fever are signs of bacterial infection in COPD exacerbation. 

Racial/Ethnic Variables 

There is limited evidence on the racial/ethnic variables in the characteristics and progress of COPD. Non-Hispanic whites have however been reported to have the highest burden associated with symptoms of chronic bronchitis and cardiovascular diseases as comorbidities of COPD (Park et al., 2021). African Americans on the other hand, have reported the highest incidences of dyspnea due to lifestyle habits like smoking and reduced exercise capacity (Lee et al., 2018). Korean patients on the other hand were more likely to be underweight as compared to other ethnic groups, hence reduced COPD symptoms and complications (D’Cruz et al., 2020). Generally, the ethnic variables in COPD are due to sociodemographic differences in lifestyle habits, education, and cultural beliefs among other factors.  

How Processes interact to Affect the Patient 

As discussed above, the pathophysiology of COPD involves the interaction of both cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary processes. Impairments in the cardiopulmonary functioning leading to COPD are associated with several risk factors including smoking, exposure to chemicals, race, age, and history of asthma (Hikichi et al., 2018). The above risk factors have the potential of resulting in pathological changes within the peripheral bronchioles, parenchyma of the lungs, and central airways. Structural changes in the airways include ciliary abnormalities, focal squamous metaplasia, atrophy, inflammation, airway smooth muscle hyperplasia, and bronchial wall thickening leading to chronic bronchitis (Santus et al., 2019). When the air spaces enlarge permanently distal to the bronchial on the terminals, the alveoli surface area that is available for gaseous exchange is usually reduced leading to emphysema. The above mechanisms contribute to the patient’s symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, increased sputum production, and fever. 


The middle-aged patient in the provided case study presents with symptoms indicating COPD exacerbation. Several cardiopulmonary processes contribute to the development of the patient’s condition such as the small (peripheral) bronchioles, large (central) airways, and the lung parenchyma. However, with a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology of the patient’s condition, it will be easier for the clinician to develop the most effective treatment plan.  



D’Cruz, R. F., Murphy, P. B., & Kaltsakas, G. (2020). Sleep-disordered breathing and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a narrative review on classification, pathophysiology and clinical outcomes. Journal of Thoracic Disease, 12(S2), S202–S216. 

Hikichi, M., Hashimoto, S., & Gon, Y. (2018). Asthma and COPD overlap the pathophysiology of ACO. Allergology International, 67(2), 179–186. 

Lee, H., Shin, S. H., Gu, S., Zhao, D., Kang, D., Joi, Y. R., Suh, G. Y., Pastor-Barriuso, R., Guallar, E., Cho, J., & Park, H. Y. (2018). Racial differences in comorbidity profile among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BMC Medicine, 16(1). 

Park, H. Y., Lee, H., Kang, D., Choi, H. S., Ryu, Y. H., Jung, K.-S., Sin, D. D., Cho, J., & Yoo, K. H. (2021). Understanding racial differences of COPD patients with an ecological model: two large cohort studies in the US and Korea. Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease, 12, 204062232098245. 

Santus, P., Pecchiari, M., Tursi, F., Valenti, V., Saad, M., & Radovanovic, D. (2019). The Airways’ Mechanical Stress in Lung Disease: Implications for COPD Pathophysiology and Treatment Evaluation. Canadian Respiratory Journal.