Critical Care

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About Critical Care

This is a new healthcare specialty as compared to other ones. However, it is rapidly becoming an inherent part of a healthcare center’s offerings. As its name explains much about it, it tends to provide critical care to people with life-threatening injuries or diseases. It deals with problems related to complications happened from accidents, infections, surgeries and severe breathing problems. The treatment here encompasses close and regular attention by a team of specially trained medical professionals. The treatment generally takes place in a specially designed environment called as Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Trauma Center.

Critical care is a relatively new specialty that is usually considered to have developed from the successful use of invasive ventilation during the 1952 polio epidemic in Copenhagen. It is described as the use of invasive ventilation; providing collaborative, multidisciplinary care that can serve as a model for critical care services to this day, managing severe infections and respiratory failure, providing cardiovascular support with resuscitation fluids and vasopressors, monitoring ventilation by measuring carbon dioxide, placing nasogastric tubes to feed patients, and conducting daily multidisciplinary rounds. It involves the use of backup systems when patients' lives are so dependent on technology that even brief technical failures will prove fatal.

From the very beginning, critical care has extended to a majority of countries in the world. In many developed societies, the number of critical care beds is increasing while total number of acute care hospital beds is decreasing; the proportion of acute care hospital beds that are intensive care unit (ICU) beds is increasing substantially. Critical care services nowadays munch a major proportion of health care budgets.

In all leading hospitals in India, there are dedicated critical care departments that provide world-class emergency care to meet with any kind of medical exigency.

A multi-disciplinary team of critical care experts delivers full-fledged consultative, diagnostic and therapeutic services for patients with life-threatening diseases. These patients require careful monitoring and care in the Intensive Care Unit setting. These hospitals provide full spectrum of ICU or Critical Care Unit (CCU) services by specially-trained, efficient and skilled physicians every time.

The major critical care services include:

  • Management of shock and cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Respiratory failure
  • Primary pulmonary hypertension vasodilator trials
  • Laser bronchoscopy
  • Multisystem organ failure (including renal and hepatic)
  • Sepsis
  • Central nervous system crises
  • Cardiac failure
  • Solid organ and bone marrow transplantation

At the core of the critical care system is the hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU). General roles within the ICU are the Medical Director, who may provide oversight with respect to patients’ conditions as well as administrative activities in the unit; the Unit Manager, who oversees operational activities in the unit, such as staffing and budgeting; and the Most Responsible Physician (MRP), who is the person primarily responsible for a specific patient’s care. These health care professionals work around the clock to save the lives of critically ill patients.

Critical care services meet the needs of patients facing an immediate life-threatening health condition—specifically, that in which vital system organs are at risk of failing. Using advanced therapeutic, monitoring and diagnostic technology, the objective of critical care is to maintain organ system functioning and improve the patient’s condition such that his or her underlying injury or illness can then be treated.

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