NCLEX : Gastrointestinal Physiology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for NCLEX

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

What hormone stimulates a feeling of hunger?

Possible Answers:

Gastrin

Leptin

Ghrelin

Cholecystokinin

Correct answer:

Ghrelin

Explanation:

Ghrelin is a hormone produced primarily in the stomach and small intestine. It is secreted when the stomach is empty, triggering a feeling of hunger. When the stomach is stretched, secretion of ghrelin is inhibited. Leptin is a hormone secreted by adipose cells to signal satiety. Gastrin triggers the secretion of stomach acid during digestion, and cholecystokinin (CKK) is a hormone with various roles in the process of digestion, primarily acting as a hunger suppressant and a trigger for the release of digestive enzymes and bile.

Example Question #2 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

What is the name of the muscular ring that separates the small intestine from the large intestine?

Possible Answers:

Pyloric sphincter

Lower esophageal sphincter

Ileocecal sphincter/valve

Cardiac sphincter

Correct answer:

Ileocecal sphincter/valve

Explanation:

The ileocecal sphincter/valve separates the small intestine from the large intestine. The lower esophageal sphincter, also known as the cardiac sphincter, separates the esophagus from the stomach, while the pyloric sphincter separates the stomach from the small intestine.

Example Question #3 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

What is the name for the system of coordinated peristaltic waves that slowly sweeps food through the small intestine for digestion?

Possible Answers:

Segmentation contractions

Mass movements

The migrating motor complex

None of these

Correct answer:

The migrating motor complex

Explanation:

The system of coordinated peristaltic waves that slowly sweeps food through the small intestine for digestion is called the migrating motor complex. Disorderly motion of this complex can result in a wide variety of gastrointestinal complaints such as vomiting, dumping syndrome, bloating, or indigestion. Segmentation contractions mix the contents of the colon for more absorption, while mass movements serve to propel feces towards the rectum. 

Example Question #4 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

All of the following are main functions of the large intestine except __________.

Possible Answers:

digest food

store feces

absorb water

absorb electrolytes

Correct answer:

digest food

Explanation:

By the time the contents of the digestive tract ender the colon, the majority of food digestion is complete. The colon then serves primarily to absorb water and electrolytes and to prepare feces for excretion.

Example Question #5 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

The duodenum wraps around what digestive organ?

Possible Answers:

The pancreas

The stomach

The gallbladder

The liver

Correct answer:

The pancreas

Explanation:

The duodenum wraps around the pancreas.

Example Question #6 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

The portions of the small intestine, in order from superior to inferior, are __________.

Possible Answers:

duodenum, ileum, jejunum

ileum, jejunum, cecum

duodenum, jejunum, ileum

jejunum, cecum, duodenum

Correct answer:

duodenum, jejunum, ileum

Explanation:

The portions of the small intestine, in order from superior to inferior, are the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. The cecum is not a part of the small intestine at all but rather the beginning of the large intestine.

Example Question #7 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

What nerve innervates the external anal sphincter?

Possible Answers:

Ilioinguinal nerve

Perineal nerve

The pudendal nerve

Cluneal nerve

Correct answer:

The pudendal nerve

Explanation:

The pudendal nerve innervates the external anal sphincter and is responsible for a person's ability to voluntarily control defecation. Dysfunction of the pudendal nerve has been associated with fecal incontinence or constipation. The other nerves listed are all part of the pelvic floor but do not directly innervate the anal sphincter.

Example Question #8 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

Absorption of nutrients in the small intestine occurs mainly in the __________.

Possible Answers:

duodenum and jejunum

duodenum and ileum

ileum and cecum

jejunum and ileum

Correct answer:

duodenum and jejunum

Explanation:

The majority of absorption of nutrients in the small intestine occurs mainly in duodenum and the jejunum. The ileum is still a site of some absorption, though it is far less than nutrient absorption in the superior parts of the small intestine. The cecum is part of the large intestine.

Example Question #9 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

What vein carries the nutrient-rich blood from the gastrointestinal system to the liver for processing?

Possible Answers:

The hepatic portal vein

The ileal vein

The splenic vein

The left gastric vein 

Correct answer:

The hepatic portal vein

Explanation:

The hepatic portal vein is the main vein the carries nutrient-rich blood from the digestive tract to the liver for further processing. The other veins listed are all smaller veins that drain the stomach, small intestine, and spleen into the portal vein. 

Example Question #10 : Gastrointestinal Physiology

What is the name of the muscular sphincter that keeps stomach contents from regurgitating into the esophagus?

Possible Answers:

Upper esophageal sphincter

Lower esophageal sphincter

Ileocecal valve

Pyloric sphincter

Correct answer:

Lower esophageal sphincter

Explanation:

The muscular sphincter that keeps stomach contents from regurgitating into the esophagus is the lower esophageal sphincter. The upper esophageal sphincter separates the esophagus from the pharynx, the pyloric sphincter separates the stomach from the small intestine, and the ileocecal valve separates the small intestine from the large intestine.

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