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Acute Pain Service

Image by Joyce McCown

...there is always someone available to help you with acute pain relief.

Chris McPeek, M.D.
Director of Acute Pain Services

Welcome and thank you for visiting our website.  This should help provide information about the  Acute Pain Services (APS) offered at St. Vincent 86th Street Hospital.  There are several physicians, all anesthesiologists, who specialize in and share responsibility for managing acute pain at St. Vincent.  We are available to our patients 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year - there is always someone available to help you with acute pain relief.

What is acute pain? How does it differ from chronic pain?
Acute pain is pain that typically lasts a brief period of time, usually hours to days or sometimes weeks.  For most of our acute pain patients, the source of pain is typically a surgical procedure or a recent injury or physiologic insult.  Chronic pain is pain that lasts much longer, typically on the order of months or even years after initial surgery or injury.  Chronic pain is treated very differently from acute pain - there are physicians who specialize in the management of chronic pain, but this is typically not the goal of an Acute Pain Service.

An Acute Pain Service is a team of physicians and nurses dedicated to studying and relieving acute pain for patients in a hospital.  It is the goal of our APS to treat and reduce both the intensity and the duration of acute pain.  There are numerous benefits to providing APS to patients having surgery, many of which are well-documented in the medical literature, and include:

  • reduced dependence on narcotics or opioid-like pain medications for pain control

  • improved quality and patient satisfaction in the peri-operative period

  • shorter hospital length-of-stays

  • lower risk of peri-operative complications

  • decreased risk of progression to chronic pain

The ultimate goal is to get you, the patient, out of the hospital sooner and more comfortably, and on with life.  If you are planning to have surgery, please make sure to discuss acute pain control options with your surgeon and anesthesiologist prior to surgery. 
Acute pain control options typically include a combination of one or more of the following: oral or intravenous pain medications, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) machines, spinal block, epidural block and/or peripheral nerve blocks.  Often, a multi-modal approach is chosen and will depend on patient preference, comfort and the location of the pain in the body.  The physicians on staff with the APS are highly trained and skilled in the administration of all of these methods of acute pain control and will work with you and your surgeon to provide an acute pain strategy tailored to your specific needs.  I hope you find this information helpful - we are happy to have the opportunity to care for you during your stay with us!


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