Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 8-12-1960


The purpose of this study was to identity the symptoms of selected pediatric patients who had developed certain postoperative complications following open heart surgery in X hospital during the year 1959. The data were limited to the symptoms recorded in the nurses' notes postoperatively but prior to the diagnosis of the selected complications. Fifteen patients with a diagnosis of heart failure and six patients with a diagnosis of complete heart block comprised the population. Descriptive-survey was the method of research selected to study the problem. The documentary frequency procedure utilizing a checklist was employed to collect the data. The data were presented and analyzed in relation to what symptoms occurred, when they occurred, and how frequently they occurred. Conclusions drawn from the analysis of data were few due to the limited size of the population. The hypothesis that premonitory symptoms were common to patients with certain postoperative complications following open heart surgery and that they could be recognized by the nurse appeared true for the population studied as all patients presented certain symptoms before the diagnosis was made. Recommendations were made for farther study that would: evaluate the usefulness of nurses’ notes for nursing research, evaluate nurses’ skills in observation, compare nurses’ charting of patients in Intensive Therapy and Ward Care, investigate the value of providing experience for student nurses in cardiology clinics, and ascertain whether specific symptoms commonly occur on certain days prior to the diagnosis of a selected complication and whether or not a pattern exists in their appearance.