Critical Care

The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit is a 24-bed critical care unit that cares for disease states in the cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgery patient population. We care for some of the most complex patients in the state that include heart transplantation, lung transplantation, ventricular assist device, aortic repair, complex vascular procedures, complicated bypass and valve surgeries, and complex thoracic surgery. The CVICU also cares for adult VA and VV ECMO. The Intensivists provide 24-hour coverage for the critical care patients and have a team of residents and advanced practice providers. The care of critically ill patients requires a multidisciplinary approach and includes pharmacists, dietitians, physical therapists, speech therapists and social workers. There has been a steady increase in surgical patients being cared for in the CVICU as technology has advanced and more and more patients within the State require complex surgical care.

The Surgical and Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (SNICU) is staffed by Board Certified Faculty Intensivists, Fellows, Residents, and Advance Practice Providers from the Department of Anesthesia, along with Faculty and Fellow colleagues from the Department of Surgery and residents from multiple specialties. The SNICU is the largest and one of the busiest surgical intensive care units in the state of Iowa with 36 beds total and admits > 3500 patients a year. Care of these critically ill patients is provided by a multidisciplinary team consisting of physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers, and physical and occupational therapists. The members of the health care team in the SNICU are experienced in delivering advanced, up-to-date, evidence-based care to patients with all categories of critical illness, whether due to trauma, surgical or medical causes.

largest SICU in IA
bed unit

The faculty and staff of the Division of Critical Care provide clinical and didactic education to learners, including residents, fellows, medical students, physician assistant students, and nurse practitioner students, from multiple specialties and disciplines throughout the institution.  These learners gain knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of the breadth of critical illness and are exposed to procedures such as point of care ultrasound, airway management, therapeutic and monitoring line placement, thoracentesis, and paracentesis. Additionally, the Division has supported an accredited Anesthesia Critical Care Fellowship since the late 1980s. This fellowship as provided up to four Anesthesia, Surgical, and Emergency Medicine residents per year the ability to train in and receive certification in the subspecialty of Critical Care Medicine. Click here to learn more about our critical care medicine fellowship.

Latest Publications

The faculty of the Division of Critical Care are involved in multiple research projects, many that are externally funded. Some notable examples are:

Dr. Nicholas Mohr conducts research in sepsis, emergency department (ED) management of critical illness, and regionalized critical care services. He is conducting clinical outcomes studies of ED-based sedation for mechanically ventilated patients in the ED. Dr. Mohr is the Director of the Rural Telehealth Research Center, and he has conducted studies measuring the effectiveness of tele-sepsis interventions in rural EDs (TELEVISED study). He is also collaborating with a team to develop prehospital guidance for ambulance crews to select hospitals best equipped to care for them (MAP-STROKE study).

Dr. David Kaczka focuses on quantifying mechanical heterogeneity in diseases of the respiratory system, such as asthma, COPD, and acute lung injury. His lab relies on several advanced engineering techniques to quantify mechanical heterogeneity in the lung and optimize ventilation distribution. These techniques include forced oscillatory measurements of respiratory impedance, CT image processing, and computational modeling of cardiopulmonary interactions.  Dr. Kaczka has specific interests in the design and function of mechanical ventilators, patient monitoring, and functional lung imaging.  His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as private industry.