Critical care medicine
Shoemaker, William C. Martin Luther King, Jr./Charles R. Drew Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed:April 2018
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The treatment of acute, life-threatening disorders, usually in intensive care units. Critical care medicine has been practiced informally for many decades in trauma centers, postanesthesia recovery rooms, coronary care units, delivery rooms, emergency rooms, and postoperative areas. The facilities and trained personnel available in the intensive care unit (ICU) [see illustration] permit extensive monitoring of physiological variables, organization of multidisciplinary diagnostic and therapeutic plans (often requiring complex methods of execution), administration of therapy to predetermined goals, and expert nursing care. Many advances in medicine have increased the need for critical care. Among them are heart operations, transplantation of various organs, and cancer chemotherapy. See also: Chemotherapy and other antineoplastic drug treatments; Clinical pathology; Emergency medicine; Medicine; Nursing; Transplantation biology; Trauma
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