Critical care

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Critical care is a specialized branch of medicine dedicated to diagnosing and treating life-threatening conditions, including complications following surgeries. This field encompasses both intensive care and intensive therapy, and the units offering these services are often referred to as intensive care units (ICU) or intensive therapy units (ITU). Historically, there has also been a designation for units known as high dependency units (HDUs) that provided an intermediate level of care.

Definition[edit | edit source]

Critical care involves close, constant monitoring and support from specialist equipment and medications to ensure the best outcomes for those with severe and life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

History[edit | edit source]

Historically, care for critically ill patients was scattered throughout hospitals until the emergence of dedicated units. The concept of an ICU began to take shape in the 1950s and 1960s, following medical advancements in monitoring and life-support technologies. The term "intensive therapy unit" (ITU) emerged around the same period, often used interchangeably with ICU.

High Dependency Units (HDUs)[edit | edit source]

HDUs function as a bridge between standard wards and ICUs. Patients in HDUs might not need intensive care but still require closer observation and monitoring than what's typically provided in general wards.

Importance[edit | edit source]

The critical care field is essential because it manages patients with the most severe and life-threatening injuries or illnesses. These patients require specialized care and constant monitoring.

Equipment and Technology[edit | edit source]

Critical care units are equipped with advanced technology to monitor and treat patients. This includes:

  • Ventilators to support breathing
  • Intravenous (IV) lines for fluids, medications, and nutrition
  • Monitors to track heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen levels
  • Specialized beds that can turn and rotate patients to prevent bedsores

List of Intensivists (Critical Care Doctors) (USA)[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Introduction to Intensive Care Medicine" - John L. Roberts, MD
  2. "Evolution of the Intensive Care Unit" - Critical Care Medicine Journal
  3. "HDUs: The Bridge Between Wards and ICUs" - British Medical Journal

External Links[edit | edit source]

Critical care Resources
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