The Postanesthesia Care Unit - General Considerations

For most patients, recovery from anesthesia is uneventful. Nevertheless, when postoperative complications occur, they may be sudden and life threatening. The postanesthesia care unit (PACU) is designed to provide close monitoring and care to patients recovering from anesthesia and sedation. The PACU is staffed by a dedicated team of anesthesiologists, nurses, and aides. Medical oversight may range from anesthesia providers in close proximity to the PACU to a team consisting of intensivists, residents, and other clinicians with critical care experience. It is ideally located in immediate proximity to the operating room (OR), with access to radiology and the laboratory. Medications and equipment for routine care and advanced support must be readily available.

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