When you have surgery and you have deep sedation, but not general anesthesia, does the anesthesiologist stay in the OR or do the CRNAs take care of the patient? I had surgery at a surgery center and while I was waiting my turn, I saw the anesthesiologist come and go quite a bit. I wasn't sure if he stayed or not. When it was my turn, I had general anesthesia (gas) and he was giving instructions to the CRNA. Do you think he stayed the whole time or just got me started and then turned me over to the CRNA?

Hi Victoria,

Thank you for the question.  In response to your question, the answer is it depends on the type of practice that the anesthesia providers are working in.  CRNAs can give anesthesia, of any type (monitored anesthesia care (MAC), general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, etc.), to any patient of any age and surgery-type.  There are no state requirements that says a CRNA has to be watched over by an anesthesiologist.  

For example, in my practice setting, an anesthesia care team model, there is an anesthesiologist that sees patients pre-operatively.  I collaborate with the anesthesiologist, only if/when needed, on the type of anesthesia that best suits the patient for the given surgery.  Most times, I don't even see the anesthesiologist.  The patient is in my care from pre-op to post-op.  I choose the anesthetic plan, manage the patient intra-operatively, and report off in the recovery area to the RN.  On occasion, and depending on the anesthesiologist, I might see them pop in from time to time, but more for "how's everything?  need anything?".  Usually when there's a practice setting with anesthesiologists and CRNAs working together (ACT model as above), it's not typical nor routine for the anesthesiologist to give/provide the anesthesia.

I hope this helps clarify some.  


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Dino Kattato MSNA CRNA


Former ICU/ER RN with several years of experience. I can answer questions relating to the CRNA education process, professional issues involved, as well as questions about adult and pediatric clinical anesthesia.


Level I regional Trauma center dealing with simple to complex patient populations of all ages. Experience with general anesthesia, spinal and epidural anesthesia, and total IV anesthesia for all surgical specialties including neuro, ortho, general surgery, vascular, electrophysiology, and VIR, with the exception of cardiac anesthesia. Ambulatory surgery center dealing mostly with ENT, plastics, and eyes (70%:30% peds:adults).


AANA Journal February 2010 Feb;78(1):24-7.


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