Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Role of the Anaesthesiologist — from Surgical Anaesthesia to Critical Care Medicine and Pain Medicine

Care of the Surgical Patient

The anaesthesiologist is the perioperative physician (“peri-” meaning “all-around”) providing medical care to each patient through his or her surgical experience.

This includes medically evaluating the patient before surgery (preoperative), consulting with the surgical team, providing pain control and supporting life functions during surgery (intraoperative), supervising care after surgery (postoperative) discharging the patient from the recovery unit.

Critical Care and Trauma Medicine

Anaesthesiologists are uniquely qualified to coordinate the care of patients in the intensive care unit because of their extensive training in clinical physiology/pharmacology and resuscitation. Some anaesthesiologists pursue advanced fellowship training to subspecialize in critical care medicine. In the intensive care unit, they direct the complete medical care for the sickest patients. The role of the anaesthesiologist in this setting includes the provision of medical assessment and diagnosis, respiratory and cardiovascular support, and infection control.

Anaesthesiologists also possess the medical knowledge and technical expertise to deal with many emergency and trauma situations. They provide airway management, cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation, advanced life support and pain control. As consultants, they play an active role in stabilizing and preparing the patient for emergency surgery.

Pain Medicine

Because of their specialty training and vast experience in controlling pain during surgery, anaesthesiologists are uniquely qualified to prescribe and administer drug therapies or perform special techniques for acute, chronic and cancer pain. Here are two of the most common areas in which anaesthesiologists treat pain:

Acute Pain Management

Includes preoperative pain relief in trauma,postoperative pain relief,labour analgesia i.e painless labour.

Chronic and Cancer Pain Management

Anaesthesiologists are the vanguard of those who are developing new therapies for chronic pain syndromes and cancer-related pain. Anaesthesiologists who specialize in the treatment of chronic pain often dedicate their practices exclusively to a multidisciplinary approach to pain medicine, working collaboratively with other medical specialists in a pain clinic. 

Kauvery Hospitals

Author & Editor

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