Autonomic Nervous System Case Study

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Introduction This document illustrates answers to questions posted as a case study where a patient suffers from two arrow wounds. One running anteriorly between the 7th and 8th ribs at a 15-degree angle through the head protruding posteriorly, and another in the posterior cervical triangle.
Solution to Question 1a. The first arrow goes through various serosal cavities. Mainly injuring the thoracic cavity, pleural cavity, parietal and visceral cavity, and the pericardial cavity. The two pleural cavities are found in the thoracic cavity which includes the lungs, heart, trachea, part of the esophagus, thymus gland, and thoracic duct. The heart will also be affected due to the location of the arrow. The heart is found in a small chamber called …show more content…

According to Martini, F., Tallitsch, R., Nath, J., (2018), the ANS functions outside of our conscious awareness and makes routine adjustments in our body’s systems (Martini, Tallitsch, & Nath, 2018, p. 450). The autonomic nervous system helps maintain the homeostasis of our bodies by regulating body temperature and coordinating cardiovascular, repertory, digestive, excretory, and reproductive functions. Efferent axons innervate the visceral organs and the efferent nerve fibers and ganglia of the ANS organize in two systems or divisions. The sympathetic division and the parasympathetic division. The sympathetic division is most active during times of stress, exertion, or emergency, also known as “flight or fight”. Thus, the sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate, and the forced contractions widen the airways making it easier to breathe. Your body now releases stored energy, which allows for increased strength in muscles, and can also cause your palms to sweat, pupils to dilate, and hair to stand up. The parasympathetic division is most active during resting conditions, hence, why it can also be called, “rest and digest”. This division controls body processes during ordinary situations. It generally slows down your heart rate and decreases your blood …show more content…

The patient’s autonomic nervous system would react to the arrow attack by activating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The brain sends a stress signal throughout the body and the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands. These glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline into the blood. Epinephrine starts to go throughout the body, the heart starts to beat faster-pushing blood to the muscles, heart, and other organs. Your pulse and blood pressure go up, and you will start to breathe more rapidly. Your lungs open wide so they can take in as much oxygen as possible. This extra oxygen is sent to the brain which increases alertness. Your senses become sharper and epinephrine triggers the release of blood sugar and fats from storage sites in your body. The parasympathetic nervous system promotes the “rest and digest” response that calms the body down after the initial stress has passed. All these changes happen at such a fast rate, that most of the time you’re not even aware of

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