acute respiratory failure post op

When is it appropriate to take acute respiratory failure post op?  At 24 or 48 hours remaining on a vent?  Also with posterior and anterior cervical fusion and then edema post surgery requiring vent when is it appropriate to take the acute respiratory failure?  Is there a time frame or can the respiratory failure be picked up right away?


  • Excellent and detailed guidance on this can be found in the resources section by searching for the key terms.
  • Our pulmonary folks suggest that post-op resp failure can be diagnosed when the patient remains on the vent (or BiPAP, or hi-flow oxygen) or has decreased room air sats more than 6 hours post-op.  The six hour frame is the time by which all the effects of anesthetic gases may have passed.  Wrote about the idea that the 24-48 hour time frame means nothing (although without the 6 hour frame as a benchmark) in the ACDIS Blog "Defining Failure."
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