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Clinical Programs and Services

Comprehensive, evidence-based care

Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine provides anesthesia care for all adults, youth and children in the Halifax region through a number of programs and services designed to meet diverse patient care needs. Our programs and services offer an ideal learning environment for medical students, residents and fellows.

Blood management

Perioperative Blood Management Services provides perioperative anemia screening and treatment for major surgeries at Capital Health and the IWK Health Centre. Team members also counsel patients who decline blood products and coordinate intra-operative surgical and anesthetic blood management techniques.

Our program is a resource in perioperative blood management for physicians and hospitals in Atlantic Canada. We educate staff, residents, nurses and allied health professionals on the most up-to-date techniques in perioperative blood management. On the research front, we conduct studies in blood loss in cardiac surgery and the use of blood salvage systems.

Cardiac anesthesia

The cardiac anesthesia team supports all cardiac surgeries at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, most of which require cardiopulmonary bypass. The team also provides anesthesia care for patients with cardiac-related problems who require a variety of orthopaedic and general surgeries, routinely performs transesophageal echocardiograms (TEEs) and provides primary care to patients in the QEII’s critical care units.

Neuroanesthesia

The neuroanesthesia team provides anesthesia services for about 20 surgeries each week, most of which result from intracranial tumours, aneurysms, head trauma and spinal anomalies.

Pain Management Services

Pain Management Services provides acute and chronic pain assessment, treatment and management, conducts groundbreaking research, particularly in chronic pain, and delivers undergraduate medical education, resident education and training, and fellowship training.

Pain Management Services patient care services include:

  • regional analgesia
  • patient-controlled analgesia
  • chronic pain treatment and management through:
    • medication
    • acupuncture
    • electromotive drug administration
    • nerve blocks
    • trigger-point injections
    • transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
    • self-management

Pediatric anesthesia

The pediatric anesthesia team at the IWK Health Centre provides anesthesia care to children and youth in the Maritime provinces. While much of their expertise supports surgical activity, the team is active outside of the operating theatre where cases can also be complex and require extended support.

The team administers a range of programs and services to respond to the varied needs of children, youth and their families. Medical students and residents also participate in these services as part of their medical education and training:

  • cardiac program
  • pediatric pain service
  • pediatric pain network
  • preoperative assessments, telephone consults and chart reviews
  • trauma team
  • malignant hyperthermia consultation service and database
  • difficult airway consultation service and register
  • cardiac arrest response team
  • EHS Lifeflight medical control

Pediatric Pain Service

The Pediatric Pain Service works with children from birth to adolescence to help ease their pain. As part of a larger interdisciplinary team at the IWK Health Centre, members provide acute and chronic pain consultation and treatment/management options.

Residents and medical students receive exceptional learning opportunities with the Pediatric Pain Service – one of only three such clinical and research programs in Canada. The pediatric pain team often receives requests for consultation and clinical advice from hospitals and health centres across Canada and the United States.

Advances in treating and managing pediatric pain relate directly to a growing national and international commitment to research. Many of our faculty members are at the forefront of that research. To learn more, visit the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research.

Thoracic anesthesia

Surgeries for treatment of conditions affecting the lungs, chest wall and diaphragm require general anesthesia and, at times, one-lung ventilation. Anesthesia care for thoracic surgeries at the QEII Health Sciences Centre (more than 350 annually) is provided by a specialized group of anesthesiologists. They also conduct research, primarily in post-operative pain following thoracic surgery, and provide specialized education and training to residents, attending physicians and medical students.

Transplantation anesthesia

Anesthesia care for liver transplantation is among the most complex in the specialty. At the QEII Health Sciences Centre, a small group of very specialized anesthesiologists work with surgeons and patients to ensure the highest quality care is provided.  

Women’s and obstetric anesthesia

Women’s and obstetric anesthesia provides comprehensive anesthesia services for maternal, breast health and non-oncology gynaecology patients at the IWK Health Centre and the QEII Health Sciences Centre, including tertiary high-risk obstetric and neonatal referrals for the Maritime provinces. Faculty members are active teachers and researchers, focusing on women’s post-operative pain.