This guide to critical care is not intended to be comprehensive but rather to serve as an introduction to important clinical trials and concepts that you will encounter daily in the intensive care unit (medical, surgical, or cardiac critical care units). In critical care, every second counts. The goal of this guide is to help you quickly make decisions, avoid mistakes, and discuss patients intelligently on the wards.
The guide is divided into several key sections:
The first two topics cover the main aspects of critical care that you will encounter. To treat patients with these conditions, you need to understand the next two topics (resuscitation fluids and transfusion, and acid-base status, lactic acidosis, and electrolytes). Finally, delirium is an unfortunate but frequent consequence of severe illness and can exacerbate an already tenuous situation.
Because procedures are an integral part of any critical care rotation, we include procedure videos at the end of each section.
For a brief history of critical care, click here.
Rotation Prep was developed by a collaborative team of experts, educators, fellows, and residents including Andrea Merrill, MD (NEJM Fellow); Alex Djuricich, MD (NEJM Education Editor); Daniela Lamas, MD; Paul Dieffenbach, MD; Raolat Abdulai, MD; and Joe Rencic, MD. The content was reviewed by Jeffrey Drazen, MD.