Post anesthesia care unit
- Post anesthesia care unit
:" "PACU" redirects here. For the fish, see Pacu (fish)."
A post anesthesia care unit, often abbreviated PACU, is a vital part of hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and other medical facilities. It is an area, normally attached to operating theatre suites, designed to provide care for patients recovering from anesthesia, whether it be general anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia, or local anesthesia.
The PACU staff, generally composed of highly trained nurses are charged with many vital tasks for the care of post-anaesthesia and post operative patients. These essential activities include:-
* monitoring vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure and respiration)
* treating symptoms of postoperative nausea and vomiting (or PONV)
* managing post-operative pain.
These common activities may often need supplementing with more intensive care or treatment. This may require :-
* Preparation and education for the use of Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) units
* Preparation and establishment of IV or epidural infusions
* Preparation and establishment of invasive monitoring such as arterial lines, central venous lines etc
Occasionally, serious life threatening complications, such as laryngospasm or respiratory arrest, can arise post-anesthesia. 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.
* Operating department practitioner
* Anaesthetic Technician
* [http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic802.htm Ketamine: Emergency Applications] (eMedicine.com) - discusses laryngospasm.
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