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The ICU Environment 

The ICU Environment
Chapter:
The ICU Environment
Author(s):

Ayan Sen

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190225537.003.0026
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date: 07 June 2020

In the United States over 4 million patients are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) each year, ICU related spending approaches $80 billion annually, and one in five of all deaths occur in a hospitalization involving the ICU. ICUs consist of teams of dedicated professionals working round-the-clock using latest technologies to save lives that otherwise would have been lost. The Intensive Care Unit has been the hallmark of the modern hospital, having come into prominence in the past thirty years. Florence Nightingale was the first to suggest that critically ill patients need specialized, separate care during the 1850s. The development of ICUs was preceded by postoperative recovery rooms following World War II. The polio epidemic and subsequent performance of tracheotomy in a Copenhagen hospital with manual ventilation led to establishment of separate areas in the hospital to care for such patients. The birth of the mechanical ventilator in the 1950s provided a fillip to creation of dedicated units with specialized care.

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