Intensive care

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The discipline of Critical care medicine (Intensive care), the medical practitioners of which are known as Intensivists.


Commenced in 1952 when during a polo epidemic Bjorn Ibsen showed the benefit of manual ventilation via tracheostomy and cuffed airway in cases of type II respiratory failure. The first intensive care unit followed in 1953.

Levels of Care

Level 0 
Normal ward care.
Level 1 
Ward-based care where the patient does not require organ support. Intended for patients with potential for deterioration, or for those recently stepped-down from HDU.
Level 2 
Commonly called the high dependency unit (HDU). For patients needing closer observation, e.g. post-operative patients and patients requiring support of single organ (but excluding mechanical ventilation). Support may include renal haemofiltration, vasoactive drugs and invasive monitoring. Nursing care is usually 1 nurse to 2 patients.
Level 3 
Intensive care. Patients requiring two or more organ support (or needing mechanical ventilation alone). One-to-one nursing with doctor present 24-hours per day.

Described in more detail here: [1]