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High Level of Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 So let's take a look at elevated urea nitrogen and renal function, what it tells us about that because the serum level of urea is measured by the BUN test.

    00:11 So an elevated BUN, we've just talked about three possible reasons.

    00:17 See if you can stop and recall those reasons.

    00:23 Cool, so an elevated BUN can be an indicator that the kidneys are compromised because we know that BUN gives us clues about both the liver and the renal function.

    00:34 Right now we're going to focus on the renal function.

    00:36 So what should you do when a patient you're taking care of has a high BUN? Well the goal is that that abnormal lab work always requires follow up by you.

    00:48 Okay, so whenever you see a lab work that is outside of the range of normal, that should be a red flag to you that you need to do something else.

    00:57 You need to know what additional assessment you need to do, you will look at the patient's history, look at their trends and events and collaborate with other disciplines.

    01:06 So this just doesn't apply to BUN, it applies to all lab work.

    01:11 Think of it as one tiny piece of the puzzle.

    01:16 Your job is to pool all these other information together, collaborate with other disciplines and help keep your patient safe.

    01:23 So let's walk through the priorities.

    01:25 In case you've never cared for a patient with an elevated BUN, I want you to know what to do when you do because trust me, this is a very common occurrence in the hospital setting.

    01:36 So you're going to assess and collaborate, that's our first step.

    01:40 So first, you're going to take a look at the patient's urine.

    01:43 You're gonna look at the colour of it and the clarity.

    01:46 That means if I held it up to a light, what would it look like? Now you're gonna see a series of bladders appear across your screen.

    01:54 I know, pretty amazing but we spare no expense here at Lecturio.

    01:58 So on one of the spectrum, it's gonna be transparent, be kind of a pale straw-colored, that means you're well hydrated.

    02:06 For all of us that should be drinking water, you know every time you use the restroom, you usually look at it.

    02:12 This is what you're gunning for, this is what you want.

    02:15 You want your urine to be transparent, kind of a pale straw color, that means you're well hydrated.

    02:21 As it begins to get darker, look at the difference between those two bladders.

    02:25 Now that it's getting darker, that's because there is less water in there.

    02:29 Either you're not taking as much in or the body is hanging on to it, but this looks like you probably have a normal-ish kind of urine here but you're definitely not as well hydrated as the first bladder.

    02:42 Now let's look at the number three.

    02:46 Okay it's getting even darker, you may call it like an amber or a honey color and you were on your way to dehydration.

    02:53 Now let's take a look at bladder number four, we seriously have a problem with this.

    02:59 If you see urine that looks like this with your patient, this requires an immediate intervention, you need to follow up and figure out what is going on.

    03:07 Now on the slide, we have there for you the the cause is severe dehydration, that's absolutely a possibility but you can also have some really significant renal problem, so write yourself a note that says "possible renal problems" Now just to bring you up to speed, if you're severely dehydrated, your blood pressure is usually pretty low meaning your organs are not being perfused, so it may just be severe dehydration is causing the kidney problem but keep in mind, if you see urine like that, in bladder number four, that is urgent.

    03:43 You need to follow up right away and find out: is it severe dehydration? is it kidney function? or even that third cause that we've listed there as excess bilirubin.

    03:53 That's another reason why your urine can have a funny color.

    03:56 Now we're not finished.

    03:58 One night when I was in clinical, evening clinical with our students, one of them came running out of a patient's room with a urine sample and their eyes were this big because the urine was craziest red-orange kind of color.

    04:12 Now here we say, that could indicate a problem with your liver or bile duct and that is true but also a pretty common medication called pyridium can also do some super funky things to your urine.

    04:26 So before you jump to conclusion, if you get this really weird red-orange colored urine, make sure you assess the medications the patient's on and make sure they're not on pyridium.

    04:36 I got a great giggle out of it just seeing that student's face but they will never forget to go back and ask what type of medications our patient is on.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture High Level of Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – Renal Assessment (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The kidneys are not getting adequately perfused with blood
    2. The kidneys don't have enough fluid to filter and lose functionality
    3. The kidneys may produce transparent urine
    4. The kidneys get inflamed and infected
    1. "Which medication are you taking?"
    2. "Do you have a history of liver failure?"
    3. "Are you taking medication for pain daily?"
    4. "Do you eat a lot of beets?"

    Author of lecture High Level of Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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