Category: Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine

The Changing Epidemiology of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Coronary care units (CCUs) were originally designed to monitor and treat peri-infarction ventricular arrhythmias but have evolved into highly specialized cardiac intensive care units (CICUs) that provide care to a patient population that is increasingly heterogeneous and complex. Paralleling broader epidemiologic trends, patients admitted to contemporary CICUs are older and have a greater burden of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular comorbidities. Moreover, contemporary CICU patients have high illness severity and often present with acute noncardiac organ dysfunction. In addition to these shifting demographic patterns, there have been important epidemiologic changes in CICU technologies, multidisciplinary systems of care, and physician staffing and training.

Congenital Heart Disease in the Adult Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

This article provides a broad overview of key concepts and more commonly encountered critical illness presentations in adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) patients. General principles are discussed, and the need for ACHD subspecialty consultation is emphasized. ACHD is categorized based on hemodynamic profile, and common clinical presentations are reviewed, including common pitfalls. Many ACHD lesions are associated with predictable complications, and awareness of these associations can guide evaluation and management, which are listed in this article.

Heart Transplantation—Postoperative Considerations

Heart transplantation (HT) remains the best treatment of patients with severe heart failure who are deemed to be transplant candidates. The authors discuss postoperative management of the HT recipient by system, emphasizing areas where care might differ from other cardiac surgery patients. Working together, critical care physicians, heart transplant surgeons and cardiologists, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, transplant coordinators, nursing staff, physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation specialists, nutritionists, health psychologists, social workers, and the patient and their loved ones partner to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Management of Patients After Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, although contemporary care now enables potential survival with good neurologic outcome. The core acute management goals for survivors of cardiac arrest are to provide organ support, sustain adequate hemodynamics, and evaluate the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest. In this article, the authors review the current state of knowledge and clinical intensive care unit practice recommendations for patients after cardiac arrest, particularly focusing on important areas of uncertainty, such as targeted temperature management, neuroprognostication, coronary evaluation, and hemodynamic targets.

Management of Vasoplegic Shock in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit after Cardiac Surgery

Vasoplegic shock after cardiac surgery is characterized by hypotension, a high cardiac output, and vasodilation. Much of the understanding of this pathologic state is informed by the understanding of septic shock. Adverse outcomes and mortality are increased with vasoplegic shock. Early recognition and a systematic approach to its management are critical. The need for vasopressors to sustain an adequate blood pressure as well as pharmacologic adjuncts to mitigate the inflammatory inciting process are necessary. The rationale behind vasopressor escalation and consideration of adjuncts are discussed.