How We Can Help
Neurocritical Care Treatment Information
Our Critical Care physicians work closely with neurologists and neurosurgeons to provide treatment for a wide range of neurological conditions. Critical care services include:
- Intracranial pressure monitoring. After a brain injury, aneurysm or severe stroke, you experience increased pressure in your brain. It is vital that this pressure is controlled to prevent secondary injuries, coma and even death. A small tube, called a catheter, is inserted through your skull and into your brain so we can monitor the pressure. The catheter also allows us to drain fluid from around your brain if pressure becomes too high.
- Respiratory support. It is essential for neurological health that you receive enough oxygen through your blood and to your brain. You may need respiratory support in order to ensure there is enough oxygen in your blood. For some patients, oxygen therapy is enough to meet their needs. During oxygen therapy, you wear a mask over your nose and mouth or have small tubes running into your nose. These tubes are attached to a tank that pumps oxygen-rich air directly to you so you breathe in more oxygen than normal. More commonly, patients are put on a ventilator. A ventilator breathes for you, pumping oxygen-rich blood straight into your airways. You are attached to a ventilator in one of two ways. The first way, a tracheostomy, is better for patients that require respiratory support for a long period of time. A tube is placed straight into your trachea, the airway in your throat, through an incision in your neck. The second procedure is endotracheal intubation. For this procedure, a tube is run through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your trachea.
- Parenteral nutrition. If you are receiving respiratory support or cannot eat for other reasons, you receive nutrition through intravenous therapy (IV) directly into your bloodstream. The solution drips slowly into your blood and contains all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients your body needs.
- Brain cancer treatment. Many patients receive neurocritical care before and after brain surgery to remove cancerous tumors. If your cancer is causing severe symptoms such as seizures, you may also be admitted to Critical Care for cancer treatment. You receive chemotherapy in Critical Care so your care is kept in one place. Critical Care physicians work closely with your surgeons and oncologists to follow your treatment plan and manage your symptoms.
- Continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring. In many cases, and especially after traumatic brain injury, we need to monitor the electrical activity in your brain. We attach small metal disks, called electrodes, around your head using adhesive. The electrodes are connected to an EEG machine that reads the electrical signals in your brain. EEGs allow us to see if your brain is continuing to function normally or if there is possible brain damage.
- Pain management. Traumatic injuries, cancer and other neurological conditions can cause severe pain that prevents you from recovering. We use oral and intravenous pain medicines to control your pain. We work with you to find the dosage that reduces pain with the fewest side effects.
- Vasospasm medicines. After a stroke or an aneurysm, you could experience vasospasms. Vasospasms are the sudden narrowing of blood vessels in your brain that cause further brain damage by preventing oxygen from getting to your brain. Certain medicines control blood pressure and clotting in your brain to reduce the risk of vasospasms.
Neurocritical Care Locations & Physicians
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Neurocritical Care Support Services
Learn more about neurocritical care, neurological conditions and their treatments by visiting the websites below.
A Sampling of Neurocritical Care Support Services
IU Health Neurology & Neurosurgery
Find out how our nationally ranked neuroscience program uses years of experience, advanced treatments and the latest research to help patients with neurological disorders or injuries.
Neurocritical Care Society
This website explains what neurocritical care is, what kind of conditions are treated in neurocritical care and hosts links to websites where you and your family can find support.