Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

All patients are admitted to the PACU following surgery and anesthesia at HSS.

The length of stay in the PACU for any patient is variable and dependent upon many factors. First, you must have demonstrated recovery from their anesthesia. If you have had epidural or spinal anesthesia, you must be able to feel and move their legs before being discharged from the PACU.

Pain medicine will be initiated in the PACU. This may take the form of pills, injections or patient-controlled analgesia, sometimes called a "pain pump." Patients who have lost blood during their surgery may receive blood products in the PACU. In many cases, this blood is donated by the patient prior to surgery.

Sometimes after surgery, you may require medications to control variations in your vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, or respiratory rate. You will not be discharged from the PACU until your vital signs are stable.

If you have long or complex operations, or have pre-existing medical problems, PACU staff may decide to monitor your recovery you for a period of time following their operation. The decision to remain in the PACU is made by your anesthesiologist, surgeon, and medical doctor.

Visitation is limited in the PACU to avoid the risk of infection to other patients and to permit the staff to concentrate on the care of these post surgical patients. For more information, please view the Hospital’s Visitation Policy.