A woman has undergone a mastectomy of her right breast and has been brought to the recovery unit. The nurse explains that the client should

  1. keep her right arm elevated on a pillow.
  2. keep her right arm elevated above her head.
  3. keep her right arm level with the heart.
  4. keep her right arm slightly lower than her heart.
Number 1 is correct.
Rationale: Clients who have undergone a mastectomy should keep the affected arm slightly elevated in order to promote drainage and not impede circulation. A pillow generally allows the hand to remain higher than the elbow, which assists with lymphatic fluid drainage. The arm position in correlation with the heart is not important.