A subspecialty of internal medicine, NOMS critical care specialists treat patients who need the most advanced monitoring and 24-hour care. Critical care medicine training is generally coupled with a pulmonary medicine fellowship, as pulmonologists most often oversee the care of patients in intensive care units. However, critical care units require a highly coordinated team approach to care and other internal medicine specialists, including cardiologists and general internists often also have advanced training in critical care medicine.
Arrhythmia is an irregular rhythm of the heart or any deviation from the normal sequence of electrical impulses. When the heart doesn't beat properly, it can't pump blood effectively and the lungs, brain and all other organs can't work properly and may shut down or be damaged.
A heart attack occurs blood flow to the heart is blocked, often due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart.
Heart failure occurs when the pumping muscles of the heart become too weak to circulate enough blood around the body. Shock and organ failure may occur.
Pneumonia is an infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. The air sacs of the lung(s) become inflamed and may fill with fluid or pus. Symptoms include phlegmy coughing, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. Pneumonia can range from mild to life-threatening.
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the lung’s arteries. In most cases, it is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from deep veins in the legs. Because the clots block blood flow to the lungs, pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening.
In respiratory failure the blood doesn't have enough oxygen or has levels of carbon dioxide, or both. During breathing, the lungs intake oxygen and it passes into the blood to carry to the organs. A second component of breathing is the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood upon exhalation. Too much carbon dioxide is harmful to organs. It may be caused by certain lung diseases, problems in the bones and muscles inherent to breathing, or damage to tissues and the ribs contiguous to the lungs.
Sepsis is an infection that results in organ damage. Any infection can lead to sepsis, but most commonly sepsis results from pneumonia, an abdominal infection like appendicitis or gall bladder infection, or a skin infection.
When a patient is in shock, vital organs are not getting enough oxygen because of low blood pressure. A wide variety of medical conditions can cause shock including heart attacks, major blood loss, severe trauma, or sepsis.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain are either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen needed, and the brain and brain cells begin to die quickly. Strokes are preventable, but in the case of an occurrence, stroke victims must receive immediate emergency medical intervention.
Trauma is most often the result of auto accidents or falls, but is also attributable to assaults involving blunt objects, stabbing or shooting. Trauma to the head may result in a brain injury. Trauma to the neck or back may result in spinal cord injury and paralysis. Trauma is also common in organs of the chest or abdomen, as may be coupled with broken bones.
Generally the result of severe impact to the head or face, traumatic brain injury involves temporary or permanent damage to brain tissue that results in bleeding into the brain and or swelling of the brain. Depending upon the severity of the traumatic brain injury, symptoms may range from confusion, to loss of consciousness, to coma, all of which may vary in duration. The treatment of traumatic brain injury involves support of all vital body systems.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia occurs 48- to 72-hours or soon thereafter following endotracheal intubation. Pneumonia is an infection causing inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs fill with fluid causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms can cause pneumonia including bacteria, viruses and fungi.
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