The Postanesthesia Care Unit - Critical Care in the Postanesthesia Recovery Unit

Increasingly, patients are admitted to the postanesthesia recovery unit for short-term delivery of ICU level of care. Patients undergoing uncomplicated thoracic (e.g., thoracotomies, lobectomies, and wedge resections) and vascular procedures (e.g., infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs, carotid endarterectomies), as well as other procedures involving large volume shifts, require a closer level of postoperative care. Care issues range from aggressive blood pressure management with IV medications to continued mechanical ventilation and hemodynamic resuscitation. It is important for the PACU care providers to establish a plan for continued monitoring and care. If longer-than-expected critical care needs arise, or respiratory and/or hemodynamic perturbations continue, transfer to the ICU should occur.

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