Critical Care Surgeon Questions Critical Care

How is someone in critical care monitored during surgery?

My friend's mother is in the critical care unit in her hospital and needs to have surgery next week. How is someone in critical care usually monitored during surgery?

2 Answers

Hi and thanks for your question. It depends on the type of surgery. For major surgery, many precautions are usually taken before surgery to optimize the patient prior to the procedure. Often times they go on a ventilator (breathing machine) to protect their airway during certain operations. Additionally, during surgery several monitors are used to check blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate etc and this couple with other information gives feedback as to how the patient may be doing There is typically ongoing communication between the surgical team and anesthesia team to make sure the patient does not deteriorate during the procedure. Sometimes critically ill patients will remain on the ventilator after a procedure for their own protection until they are more stable.
Monitoring of patients during surgery is primarily done by the anesthesiologist. The patient may just have non-invasive monitoring (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels) or they may have invasive monitors such as an arterial line or central venous pressure line depending on how seriously ill they are and what kind of surgery is being performed.