Thoracic Anesthesia Rotation

The Goals of the Thoracic Anesthesia Division remain to:

  • Provide excellent patient care to patients undergoing non-cardiac thoracic surgery.
  • Maintain excellent collegial working relationships with the thoracic surgeons
  • Support the mission of the department, operating room and institution by improved efficiency.
  • Provide excellent resident teaching in a supportive environment
  • Maintain cooperative relationships with the prescreening clinic and pain service
  • Maintain congenial relationships with OR , PACU, and ICU nurses.
  • Support the expansion of thoracic surgery at Albany Medical Center

Our core faculty are thoracic attending anesthesiologists. The building of this core group has improved patient care and teaching in the thoracic arena. Residents continue to attain the numbers of cases required by the anesthesiology residency review committee.  Residents expressed satisfaction with the rotation during the annual residency program evaluation process.


What's it like?

Here's one resident's answer to what a typical day is like on the Thoracic Anesthesia rotation:

A typical day starts at 6:30am. After getting your room ready for the day, you also need additional equipment: a fiberoptic bronchoscope, double lumen lube and epidural kit (and drugs.)  An arterial line is the norm for any thoracotomy or lung resection. The patients usually have a long smoking history and often have lung cancer. A double lumen tube allows for lung isolation and one lung ventilation, and is placed and its position verified, using a fiberoptic brochoscope.

Any patient getting a thoracotomy / lung resection is offered a thoracic epidural for post operative analgesia, which allows for a faster more efficient return of adequate lung function, i.e. deep breathing and coughing and a decrease in the incidence of postoperative atelectasis and pneumonia.

Postoperatively patients are admitted to the PACU and then to the cardiopulmonary intensive care unit. Teamwork and communication with the Thoracic Surgeons is a vital part of the care of these patients.

The Thoracic rotation day consists of 2 or 3 cases like the one above involving a patient population that is often very sick and complicated. In-depth and complete understanding of cardiac and respiratory physiology is of paramount importance in providing top-notch care to these sick patients.  The rotations allows a resident to feel confident in the management of complicated thoracic anesthesia and the corresponding patient population. We are an essential part of this patient's care.