Intensive Care Medicine: Importance Of Critical Care

Published on: 2018/05/11

Dr. Yatin Mehta, Chairman, Institute of Critical Care and Anesthesiology, Medanta – The Medcity


Intensive care medicine also referred as ‘critical care medicine’ is a specialty concerned with the management of critically ill patients who are at-risk, or have developed potentially life-threatening failure of any of the body organ systems. It is a specialty involving the holistic care of all aspects of critically ill patients.

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Intensive care, critical care, intensivist, ICU

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Importance of Intensive Care Medicine

Critical Care units or Intensive care units (ICUs) cater to patients who are critically ill. Patients in critical care are monitored by a well-coordinated team. An intensivist or a critical care specialist is the primary care provider in a critical care unit. Doctors and healthcare professionals working in intensive care units manage patients who are recovering from or at the risk of failure of organs. It could be potentially life-threatening for the patients.

In a critical care unit,  the patients are supported and monitored by skilled healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and others. Patients are monitored every minute round the clock. A patient in an intensive care unit gets treatment from many specialists.

The role of a critical care specialist is multifaceted. The critical care doctor has to be competent in different medical conditions that are generally common in critically ill patients.  He should also be competent in handling medical devices and technical procedures in an intensive ward.

A lot of deaths happen in a critical ward every day. A critical care specialist should be able to estimate prognosis, handle ethical issues, give counseling for patients and also the families.

Intensivists and intensive care medicine

The critical care specialist or intensivist gets board certification in a specialty and also an additional fellowship and certification in critical care medicine. A critical care doctor takes a broader approach unlike concentrating on a specific body system. He coordinates with other specialists and oversees the decisions taken by specialists.

What are the benefits of a critical care specialist in an ICU?

With the help of a critical care specialist, the hospitals can improve the survival rates by improving the patient outcomes. Prolonged stay in an intensive care unit may prove expensive for the patients. With the help of a critical care specialist, the complications could be reduced and also the patients get the right treatment within the shortest time.

What are the conditions that an intensive care specialist handles?

  1. Renal failure
  2. Heart failure
  3. Respiratory failure
  4. Sepsis
  5. Maternal complications and pediatric care
  6. Trauma or emergency care
  7. Poisoning or intoxication

An intensive care specialist monitors the patients and provides organ system support that includes, drugs to control blood pressure, ventilators, invasive monitoring, percutaneous dilatational tracheostomy, endotracheal intubation, dialysis and diagnosis which involves other specialists.

Read more – What does it take to become an intensivist or a critical care specialist? What is the importance of critical care? Explains Dr. Yatin Mehta Chairman, Institute of Critical Care and Anesthesiology, Medanta – The Medcity