Anaesthesia Postoperative care
“All patients who have had an operation under either regional or general anaesthesia are in a potentially unstable cardiorespiratory state.” Jonathan M Behar and colleagues explain this statement from the Royal College of Anaesthetists
- By: Jonathan M Behar, Petrut Gogalniceanu, Lesley Bromley
The anaesthetist's care of the patient doesn't end when the patient's eyes open-it is a continuous process starting some 24 hours before surgery and continuing into the early recovery period, when most complications occur and when adequate analgesia is of utmost importance.
The recovery room is a warm, well lit area close to the operating theatres, where patients are calmly reoriented and monitored after emergence from anaesthesia. Nursing staff monitor vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen saturations, temperature, and level of consciousness. They also assess the patient's pain. Once the anaesthetist is happy that the patient is safe, using the criteria in box 1 as a guide, plans are made for discharge to the ward.
As many as a fifth of patients experience postoperative adversities, and it is widely accepted that recovery rooms are essential in improving their outcome. Although most problems are