Cardiac Vascular Nurse Exam Review

The Cardiac Vascular Nurse certification is a specialized certification that indicates the RN has achieved excellence in caring for those patients who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. This level of nursing also indicates the nurse can care for patients who may be at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. This certification encompasses all aspects of nursing care for the cardiac or vascular patient, including identifying the psychosocial issues that may affect the patient and affect their care.

In order to take the Cardiac Vascular Nurse certification exam, the applicant must be a licensed Registered Nurse with an Associate Degree or diploma from an accredited 2-year RN program. The RN must have worked at least 2 years in a full-time capacity as a cardiovascular nurse, with at least 2,000 hours within the past 3 years. In addition, at least 30 hours of continuing education hours should have been completed in cardiovascular nursing over the past 3years.

The Cardiac Vascular Nurse certification exam is offered throughout the year at testing centers across the United States. The RN has 90 days in which to take the Cardiac Vascular Nurse exam after receiving the test admission ticket. The fee to take the Cardiac Vascular Nurse exam is $230 for members of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and $370 for non-members.

The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions with 25 of those questions used for pretesting purposes for possible use on future exams. Almost one-half of the Cardiac Vascular Nurse exam tests the RN's knowledge on providing nursing care to the cardiovascular patient. The next largest portion of the Cardiac Vascular Nurse exam consists of questions pertaining to specific cardiovascular diseases. The remainder of the Cardiac Vascular Nurse exam contains questions on patient communication, ethical issues, and patient and caregiver education.

Cardiac Vascular Nurse certification is valid for 3 years. At the end of that time period, the licensed RN must have completed at least 1,000 hours of employment as a cardiovascular nurse. In addition, at least 75 continuing education hours should have been completed or other educational activities should have been completed as outlined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The fee for renewal is $160 for ANA members and $290 for non-members as long as the practice hour and continuing education hour requirements are met. For those who wish to retake the Cardiac Vascular Nurse exam in order to recertify, the fee is $230 for ANA members and $370 for non-members.

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Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Exam Questions

Cardiac Vascular Nurse Practice Questions

1. A patient's pulse oximetry (SpO2) is 75%, although the patient does not appear to be in distress. A false low reading is most likely to be caused by:

  1. a temperature of 100F.
  2. a recent transfusion.
  3. recent exposure to carbon monoxide.
  4. nail polish on the finger used for monitoring.

2. A patient presents with pulmonary edema, tachypnea, tachycardia, hypertension, fever, and cough with frothy sanguineous sputum. What treatments are most commonly ordered initially with this clinical presentation?

  1. Oxygen, nitroglycerine, loop diuretics, and morphine
  2. Oxygen, thiazide diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  3. Oxygen and thiazide diuretics
  4. Oxygen, morphine, and calcium channel blockers

3. Physical changes that suggest a severe cardiovascular disorder, such aspulmonary edema and congestive heart failure, include:

  1. peripheral cyanosis of the nails and skin of the nose, lips, and extremities.
  2. pallor.
  3. central cyanosis of the tongue and buccal mucosa.
  4. xanthelasma.

4. First-line drugs for the treatment of stage I hypertension are:

  1. loop diuretics.
  2. thiazide diuretics.
  3. angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.
  4. calcium channel blockers.

5. Which of the following statements describes the benefits of drug-eluting coronary stents as compared to standard stents?

  1. They inhibit cell proliferation and inflammation and reduce restenosis.
  2. They provide antibiotics to decrease infection.
  3. They provide anticoagulants to prevent clot formation.
  4. They prevent rejection.

Cardiac Vascular Nurse Answer Key

1. Answer: D

Nail polish on the finger used for monitoring of pulse oximetry may give a low reading. Pulse oximetry measures the percentage of hemoglobin saturation and is used to determine oxygenation. Other causes of low readings include circulatory impairment or reduced temperature. Carbon monoxide exposure causes abnormally high readings despite hypoxemia because the hemoglobin binds to the carbon monoxide. Pulse oximetry readings are most effective at a saturation level of 90% or above but are not always reliable at 80% or below.

2. Answer: A

The most common initial treatment of acute pulmonary edema is oxygen to relieve dyspnea, nitroglycerine to reduce preload, loop diuretics (usually furosemide-Lasix) to promote diuresis and venodilation, and morphine to reduce associated anxiety (although some physicians avoid morphine because of side effects). Angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitors are also sometimes used to reduce afterload, but thiazide diuretics are not used to treat acute pulmonary edema. Calcium channel blockers may induce acute pulmonary edema if used with tocolytics.

3. Answer: C

Central cyanosis of the tongue and buccal mucosa indicates severe cardiovascular disease, such as pulmonary edema or congestive heart failure. Pallor is the result of decreased levels of oxyhemoglobin, usually resulting from anemia or decreased perfusion. Peripheral cyanosis of the nails, nose, and extremities indicates decreased circulation and can occur with heart failure or other causes of vasoconstriction (e.g., cold). Xanthelasma is a yellowish plaque, usually on the eyelids, indicating high levels of cholesterol.

4. Answer: B

Thiazide diuretics are the first-line drugs used to treat stage I hypertension.Stage II hypertension is usually treated with a two-drug combination of a thiazide diuretic with an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, ARB, beta-blocker, or calcium-channel blocker. If there are compelling indications, such as heart failure, post-myocardial infarction, coronary disease risk, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, then a wide range of drugs may be needed, including diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARB, calcium channel blockers, or aldosterone antagonists, depending on the condition.

5. Answer: A

The primary benefit of drug-eluting coronary stents over standard stents is that they inhibit cell proliferation and inflammation and reduce the incidence of restenosis. They are not used to elute antibiotics or anticoagulants, and they are inorganic and are, therefore, not rejected. Drug-eluting stents are more costly than standard stents. Most coronary stents are premounted on an inflatable balloon delivery system, which is carried by a catheter to the site of the lesion.

Cardiac Vascular Nurse Exam Blueprint and Breakdown


Last Updated: 01/24/2018

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