Cardiac Intensive Care Units: What Should be the Standard of Care?

Cecillia Lui, Glenn Whitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since the creation of intensive care units (ICU) in the early 1960s, the central question of how to operate and staff them has continued to be an ongoing discussion. Early studies demonstrated decreased morality when staffing was altered from remote providers to full-time on-site providers. In addition to the shift towards full-time onsite providers, the structure of daily care has also undergone significant paradigm changes. Several studies have revealed the importance and benefit of multidisciplinary rounds with direct and open communication of daily goals. Particularly for cardiac patients in shock, two recent studies have provided hard data demonstrating a significant decrease in mortality in ICUs with full-time onsite providers. This benefit was even more pronounced for patients supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. These data support the practice of intensive care with (1) full-time onsite provider staffing, (2) multidisciplinary rounds, and (3) a safe environment with open communication between team members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSeminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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