ICU: Intensive Care Unit
ICU stands for Intensive Care Unit. It is a special department of a hospital that provides intensive care medicines and life support to patients suffering from a serious injury or illness. Intensive care units look after the patients with the most severe and life-threatening injuries or illness which needs constant and close monitoring by a team of specialized doctors and nurses. This team is trained in the care of critically ill or severely injured patients. Patients can be transferred directly in ICU from an emergency department if required. It is usually done if the condition of the patient deteriorates constantly.
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An ICU is equipped with various medical equipments, some of which are as follows:
- Mechanical ventilators
- Dialysis machine
- External pacemakers
- Syringe Pump
- Infusion Pump
- ECG ( Electrocardiogram)
- Anesthesia Machine
- Blood Warmer
- Patient Monitor
- Feeding tubes, suction tubes etc.
ICUs also have their own staffs like physical therapists, respiratory therapists, anesthesia specialist and pharmacists etc.
Injuries and illnesses that require special treatment in ICU:
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- Severe heart problems like heart attack, extreme low blood pressure.
- Problem in respiratory system due to asthma or complicated pneumonia.
- Accidental cases which need major surgery and immediate action.
- Patients in Coma.
- Liver problems and Kidney failure cases which requires dialysis.
- After a major surgery.
There is a special ICU for the babies who born prematurely or born with a serious illness. It is called neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
ICU is also known as Intensive Therapy Unit or Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) or Critical Care Unit (CCU). The first ICU practitioner was Peter Safar.