Post-anesthesia care unit
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A post-anesthesia care unit, often abbreviated PACU and sometimes referred to as post-anesthesia recovery or PAR, is a vital part of hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and other medical facilities. It is an area, normally attached to operating room suites, designed to provide care for patients recovering from general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, or local anesthesia.
The basic responsibilities of PACU staff include:
- airway management and oxygen administration for patients who have undergone general anesthesia
- monitoring vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate)
- managing postoperative pain
- treating postoperative nausea and vomiting
- treating postanesthetic shivering
- monitoring surgical sites for excessive bleeding, mucopurulent discharge, swelling, hematomas, wound healing, and infection
More intensive care may include:
- Preparation and education for the use of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) units
- Preparation and administration of intravenous, epidural, or perineural infusions
- Invasive monitoring such as arterial lines, central venous lines, and ventriculostomies
Occasionally, life-threatening complications, such as laryngospasm, respiratory arrest, or malignant hyperthermia, can arise after anesthesia. Patients may be intubated because of anaphylaxis, pulmonary edema, pneumothorax, or long-term exposure to anesthesia and narcotics. Unless complications occur, most patients will only stay in the PACU for a few hours before returning home or to another department of the hospital.
- Intensive care unit
- Nurse anesthetist
- Operating department practitioner
- Anesthetic technician
- Aldrete's scoring system
- Ketamine: Emergency Applications(eMedicine.com) - discusses laryngospasm.