The Anaesthesia and Pain Management service is a 24-hour perioperative service encompassing pre-anaesthesia assessment, intraoperative anaesthesia, anaesthesia in areas outside of the operating suite, acute postoperative pain management and tertiary trauma care.
The service is committed to evidence-based best practice, continuous quality improvement, research and teaching. The hospital has 11 operating theatres, which cater for all major types of adult surgery with the exception of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Anaesthesia and Pain Management is one of the few referral services for Malignant Hyperthermia testing in Australia. Genetic testing is a recent addition to the service, which is opening up the possibility of interesting research and a more complete understanding of this condition. The department has a well coordinated acute pain service, with active research and education programs.
Anaesthesia and Pain Management courses
We run Anaesthesia and Pain Management runs courses throughout the year for health professionals.
The department provides expertise in airway management, resuscitation and trauma management. Courses are hosted in airway and bronchoscopic training, and advanced life support training at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Find out more about our Anaesthesia and Pain Management courses.
Perioperative medicine and theatre management
The service has been very active in improving operating room systems. One initiative, the Electronic Theatre Booking System, has significantly changed the way emergency theatres cases are booked. This intranet-based system is available to all medical staff and it encourages timely, definitive surgical care. A dedicated 23 hour unit improves patient flow and throughput.
There is a well organised pre-admission clinic with all attending patients being seen by an anaesthetist. About two thirds of elective day of surgery admission patients will have been seen preoperatively by an anaesthetist. This improves patient education and assessment, reduces day of surgery cancellations and enhances anaesthetic involvement in perioperative medicine.
There are comprehensive acute and chronic pain services at The Royal Melbourne Hospital with a focus on early access to chronic pain services for patients with difficult to manage acute pain.
Anaesthesia is provided for over 600 cardiac operations a year – the largest number at a single centre in Victoria. Cardiac anaesthetists perform transoesophageal echocardiography for all these procedures. The service has two 3D toe probes and is rapidly increasing its experience in this exciting area of intraoperative cardiac imaging and monitoring.
Research activities and projects
Dr Robyn Gillies and A/Prof Andrew Bjorksten are founding members of the Malignant Hyperthermia Australia and New Zealand (MHANZ) group. Along with Dr Brad Hockey, Dr Amit Surah and Ms Alissa Doran, they comprise the Malignant Hyperthermia Diagnostic Unit (MHDU) at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Members of the MHDU perform clinical and genetic diagnosis and counselling, as well as MH crisis management.
The MHDU coordinates in-vitro contracture testing for malignant hyperthermia for patients from Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and Northern Territory - these are performed in the departmental laboratory. It is also recognised as a world leader in research into novel genetic variants causing MH, with an extensive list of publications.
Contact the Malignant Hyperthermia Diagnostic Unit for more information.