With over 74 members, the Vancouver Acute (VA) Anesthesia Department is one of the largest departments in Western Canada and provides all anesthesia care at VA’s two acute care hospitals, VGH and UBCH.
Anesthesia care has evolved and improved greatly in the past 20 years, due to improved training of anesthesiologists, advances in anesthesia research, and the development of new medical technologies and new anesthetic drugs. Our department is dedicated to excellence in all these areas.
Members of the VA Department of Anesthesia are involved in all aspects of adult anesthesia sub-specialty care including perioperative medicine, OR anesthesia care, critical care and pain management. VA is British Columbia’s provincial centre for a large number of surgical programs including neurosurgery, trauma surgery, urological and gynecological oncology (cancer) surgery, thoracic surgery, spine surgery, transplant surgery (liver, lung, kidney and pancreas) and complex joint reconstruction. In addition, our Cardiac Surgery program (900 to 1000 pump cases per year) is the centre for aortic reconstruction. VGH is also home to the province’s only robotic surgery program, which is utilized by our urologists, cardiac surgeons, and gynecologists.
The VA Department of Anesthesia has subspecialty Divisions and Sections designed to provide the best possible anesthesia care to our wide range of surgical patients. There are formal Divisions of Cardiac Anesthesia, Neuro Anesthesia and Thoracic Anesthesia as well as Sections of Spine, Vascular, Trauma, Hepatobiliary, Regional, Peri-operative, Major Abdominal Surgery and Airway Anesthesia. As UBCH is our site of excellence in Ambulatory and Short Stay Surgery, we also have a Section of Ambulatory and Short Stay Anesthesia.
In addition to providing operating room care for over 32,000 patients per year, members of the department see 10,000 patients per year in the Anesthesia Consult Clinic and provide acute pain management following surgery for over 3000 patients per year. The Department of Anesthesia is also actively involved in the provision of care in the ICU where five members of the department hold cross appointments in Critical Care.
In addition, our 1000 cardiac surgical patients are all managed post-operatively in the Cardiac Surgery ICU, a 10 bed unit under the medical management of the Division of Cardiac Anesthesia.
VGH and UBCH are two of the main teaching hospitals where residents receive part of their education during the five years it takes to qualify as a specialist in anesthesiology following medical school. All UBC Medical School students receive education in anesthesia during their last two years of studies – for many of them this takes place at VA’s two acute care hospitals. There is an expanding role for life-like OR simulation in the training of anesthesiologists; the UBC Anesthesia Simulator Program is located at VGH, where two members of the VA anesthesia department who have Masters Degrees in Medical Education play an important role in resident and student training and in education research.
Our educational endeavours also include the provision of opportunities for further training of recently qualified anesthesiologists who wish to acquire additional sub-specialty experience in one of the department’s post-fellowship programs. The department offers fellowships in Cardiac Anesthesia, Neuro Anesthesia and General Clinical Fellowship encompassing various areas of clinical interest.