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Postoperative Period. By Lisa M. Dunn RN, MSN/ED. PACU/ RECOVERY ROOM. Purpose Location The PACU nurse. Collaborative Management. Assessment - Assess respiration - Examine surgical area for bleeding - Monitor vital signs

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Postoperative period

Postoperative Period

By Lisa M. Dunn RN, MSN/ED

Pacu recovery room

  • Purpose

  • Location

  • The PACU nurse

Collaborative management
Collaborative Management

  • Assessment

    - Assess respiration

    - Examine surgical area for bleeding

    - Monitor vital signs

    - Assess for readiness to be

    discharged once criteria have been


Respiratory assessment
Respiratory Assessment

  • Airway assessment

  • Breath sounds

  • Additional respiratory assessments

Cardiovascular assessment
Cardiovascular Assessment

  • Vital signs

  • Cardiac monitoring

  • Peripheral vascular assessment

Neurological assessment
Neurological Assessment

  • Cerebral functioning

  • Motor and sensory assessment

Fluid electrolyte and acid base balance
Fluid, Electrolyte and Acid –base Balance

  • Check fluid and electrolyte balance.

  • Make hydration assessment.

  • Intravenous fluid intake should be recorded.

  • Assess acid-base balance

Renal urinary system
Renal/Urinary System

  • The effects of drugs, anesthetic agents, or manipulation during surgery can cause urine retention.

  • Assess for bladder distention.

  • Consider other sources of output such as sweat, vomitus, or diarrhea stools.

  • Report a urine output of < 30 mL/hr.

Gastrointestinal assessment
Gastrointestinal Assessment

  • Nausea and vomiting are common reactions after surgery.

  • Peristalsis may be delayed because of long anesthesia time, the amount of bowel handling during surgery, and opioid analgesic use.

  • Clients who have abdominal surgery often have decreased peristalsis for at least 24 hours.

Nasogastric tube drainage
Nasogastric tube Drainage

  • Assess for presence of NGT/OGT

    - decompress stomach

    - drain stomach

    - promote gastrointestinal rest

    - allow gastrointestinal tract to heal

    - enteral feeding

    - monitor any gastric bleeding

    Do not move or irrigate after gastric surgery without surgeon order.

Skin assessment
Skin Assessment

  • Normal wound healing

  • Ineffective wound healing: can be seen most often between the 5th and 10th days after surgery

    • Dehiscence: a partial or complete separation of the outer wound layers, sometimes described as a “splitting open of the wound.”

Skin assessment continued
Skin Assessment Continued

  • -Evisceration: a total separation of all wound layers and protrusion of internal organs through the open wound.

  • Dressings and drains, including casts and plastic bandages, must be assessed for bleeding or other drainage on admission to the PACU and hourly thereafter.

  • Discomfort pain assessment
    Discomfort/Pain Assessment

    • Client almost always has pain or discomfort after surgery.

    • Pain assessment is started by the postanesthesia care unit nurse.

    • Pain usually reaches its peak the second day after surgery, when the client is more awake, more active, and the anesthetic agents and drugs given during surgery have been excreted.

    Impaired gas exchange
    Impaired Gas Exchange

    Interventions include:

    • Airway maintenance

    • Positioning the client in a side-lying position or turning his or her head to the side to prevent aspiration

    • Encouraging breathing exercises

    • Encouraging mobilization as soon as possible to help remove secretions and promote lung expansion

    Impaired skin integrity
    Impaired Skin Integrity

    Interventions include:

    • Nursing assessment of the surgical area

    • Dressings: first dressing change usually performed by surgeon

    • Drains: provide an exit route for air, blood, and bile as well as help prevent deep infections and abscess formation during healing

    Acute pain
    Acute Pain

    Interventions include:

    • Drug therapy

    • Complementary and alternative therapies such as:

      • Positioning

      • Massage

      • Relaxation and diversion techniques

    Potential for hypoxia
    Potential for Hypoxia

    Interventions include:

    • Maintenance of airway patency and breathing pattern

    • Prevention of hypothermia

    • Maintenance of oxygen therapy as prescribed

    Health teaching
    Health Teaching

    • Prevention of infection

    • Dressing care

    • Nutrition

    • Pain medication management

    • Progressive increase in activity level

    • Use of proper body mechanics


    • Can occur when any part of the cardiovascular system does not function properly for any reason

    • Begins with abnormal cellular metabolism that occurs when too little oxygen is delivered to tissues

    Stages of shock
    Stages of Shock

    • Initial stage (early shock)

    • Nonprogressive stage (compensatory stage)

    • Progressive stage (intermediate stage)

    • Refractory stage (irreversible stage)

    Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome
    Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome

    • Cell damage is caused by the massive release of toxic metabolites and enzyme.

    • Metabolites trigger small clots to form that block tissue oxygenation and damage more cells, continuing the devastating cycle.

    Different types of shock
    Different Types of Shock

    • Hypovolemic Shock

    • Cardiogenic Shock

    • Distributive Shock

    • Obstructive Shock


    • The nurse monitors the client for which clinical manifestation as a compensatory mechanism to the initial stage of shock?

    • Vascular vasodilation

    • Increased heart rate

    • Decreased mean arterial pressure

    • Elevated body temperature

    Physical assessment
    Physical Assessment

    • Cardiovascular changes

    • Pulse

    • Blood pressure

    • Oxygen saturation

    • Skin changes

    • Respiratory changes

    • Renal and urinary changes

    • Central nervous system changes

    • Musculoskeletal changes


    • Reverse the shock.

    • Restore fluid volume.

    • Prevent complications through supportive and drug therapies.

    • Nonsurgical management includes oxygen therapy, fluid replacement, and monitoring.

    Transfusion therapy
    Transfusion Therapy

    • Pretransfusion responsibilities to prevent adverse transfusion reactions:

      • -Verify prescription.

      • -Test donor’s and recipient’s blood for compatibility.

      • -Examine blood bag for identification.

      • -Check expiration date.

      • -Inspect blood for discoloration, gas bubbles, or cloudiness.

    Transfusion responsibilities
    Transfusion Responsibilities

    • Provide client education.

    • Assess vital signs.

    • Begin transfusion slowly and stay with client first 15 to 30 minutes.

    • Ask client to report unusual sensations such as chills, shortness of breath, hives, or itching.

    • Administer blood product per protocol

    Types of transfusions
    Types of Transfusions

    • Red blood cell

    • Platelet transfusions

    • Plasma transfusions: fresh frozen plasma

    • Cryoprecipitate

    • Granulocyte (white cell) transfusions

    • Autologous blood transfusion

    Transfusions reactions
    Transfusions Reactions

    • Clients can develop any of the following transfusion reactions:

      • Hemolytic

      • Allergic

      • Febrile

      • Bacterial

      • Circulatory overload

    Intravenous fluid
    Intravenous Fluid

    • Assess size of peripheral catheter

    • Assess complication related to intravenous therapy

    • infiltration/ extravasation

    • phlebitis

    • thrombosis

    • thrombophlebitis

    • Assess type of fluid infusing