Intensive Care Unit
An Intensive Care Unit (commonly abbreviated ICU) is a
specialized area of a hospital in which patients with life
threatening medical problems of sudden onset are
placed for close monitoring and constant, complicated,
detailed nursing and medical care. In other words, the
care is intensive, hence the name Intensive Care Unit.
Patients are kept in the ICU for as long as is medically
FEATURED BOOK: Critical Care Medicine: Principles of Diagnosis & Management

The ICU consists of highly specialized and complicated devices and equipment for
monitoring patients and for reviving them from apparent death or unconsciousness. The
staff in an ICU are educated and trained to provide the specific type of health care

Large medical centers may have more than one ICU, such as one that is only for surgery
(known as a Surgical Intensive Care Unit) or one that is only for children (known as a
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or PICU). Other types of ICUs exist for adults, newborns,
trauma patients, and for patients requiring neurosurgery (surgery of the brain and/or
spine). Intensive Care Units for newborns are known as Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
For neurosurgery patients, they are known as Neurosurgery Intensive Care Units.

An Intensive Care Unit is also known as a Critical Care Unit (CCU) or an intensive-
therapy unit/intensive-treatment unit (ITU).
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