Created by the Committee on Acute Care Surgery, Canadian Association of General Surgeons. To download or read a chapter, click the link below. To read all 28 chapters, please log into the member portal.

It is not everyday that a new way of looking at the world opens up, or, in the case of surgery, a new subspecialty takes flight. Acute Care Surgery, at the intersections of Trauma, Emergency General Surgery (EGS), and Critical Care, has captured the imagination of the global surgical community. It brings together 3 dynamic fields to find new knowledge and synergies at their margins, and welcomes new ideas about team dynamics, leadership, cognitive psychology, performance improvement, and even industrial engineering. It is an exciting moment that holds transformative potential for the care of some of our most complex and vulnerable patients.

Providing comprehensive care at times of crisis is in the DNA of all general surgeons, and almost all of us are drawn to the challenge of this work, and to opportunities to apply judgment, skill, teamwork, and grit to dispelling uncertainty and converting chaos into order.  EGS patients can be physiologically complex with little or no time for pre-operative optimization, and cases can be challenging, unique, and time-dependent. EGS teams must engage along the entire continuum of care, from diagnosis to physiologic optimization, surgery, postoperative care, and beyond, along accelerated timelines, with multiple patients and competing priorities. They must navigate their patients through complex systems, integrating multidisciplinary inputs, while communicating, educating and improvising on the fly.

Evidence based practices and standardization of care protocols are some of the ways to elevate the care of EGS patients.  This educational resource links an emerging surgical discipline with a strong national network of acute care surgeons, to bring evidence based protocols to the front lines of EGS practice.  The Canadian Association of General Surgeons Acute Care Surgery Committee is excited to bring the expertise and consensus of acute care surgeons from across Canada into a set of dynamic clinical practice guidelines.

The Guidelines are meant to be simple to use, up to date with current evidence, and with pearls of wisdom from content experts across the country.  They are visually stimulating with graphics and links that allow the user to connect to other sites and literature as needed. Most of all, they reflect only a first step toward deeper understanding of EGS practice and optimization of the performance of EGS systems. They are dynamic and are built to change as science and fresh insights push the boundaries of EGS knowledge and practice.

This work is truly is a reflection of the innovative and collaborative nature of acute care surgeons across this country. We are extremely grateful to our talented and passionate authors, and to surgeons on the front lines who will use the Guidelines in the care of their patients, and whose feedback and future input will shape the future of Acute Care Surgery.


Sandy Widder MD MHA MSc QIPS

Chair, Acute Care Surgery Committee
Canadian Association of General Surgeons

Morad Hameed MD MPH
Past President
Canadian Association of General Surgeons