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Cardiovascular problems in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU)

David Broussard, MD
Kelly Ural, MD
Section Editors
Natalie F Holt, MD, MPH
Jonathan B Mark, MD
Deputy Editor
Nancy A Nussmeier, MD, FAHA


Cardiovascular problems in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) include hemodynamic instability due to hypotension, hypertension, or arrhythmias, and complications such as myocardial ischemia or decompensated heart failure. Cardiovascular issues are the third most common problem requiring treatment in the immediate postoperative period, after nausea and vomiting or respiratory problems [1-3].

The likelihood of cardiovascular problems is related to:

Severity of preexisting cardiovascular comorbidities (eg, coronary artery disease, chronic hypertension, congestive heart failure [CHF])

Invasiveness of the surgical procedure (eg, major vascular, thoracic, abdominal, spine surgery)

Severity of perioperative stresses (eg, blood loss, fluid shifts, sepsis, pain, hypothermia)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: May 3, 2016.
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