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Critical Care

Comprehensive care for when your health is most at risk

Critical care (also called intensive care) provides comprehensive, continuous care for patients with severe illness or injury. Conditions commonly treated by critical care physicians include heart, liver or kidney failure, cancer, influenza, respiratory failure, pneumonia and traumatic injury. 

We collaborate with physicians from a wide range of specialties, including cardiology, oncology and transplant services, to deliver top-quality treatment to our sickest patients. 

Our Approach to Critical Care

When your health and life are in the balance, we understand how frightening it can be. The IU Health Critical Care team will work tirelessly to help you recover from your major illness or injury. Our board certified, fellowship-trained physicians offer around-the-clock care, continuous monitoring, life support options like extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and, when appropriate, enrollment in clinical trials.

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers and chaplains are specially trained to care for critically ill patients and their families. We strive to meet your physical, emotional and social needs through physical and respiratory therapy, counseling and access to community resources that can assist you further.

Why IU Health for Critical Care

As part of the only nationally ranked healthcare system in the state, IU Health Critical Care provides specialized treatment, a level of advanced technology and a commitment to research that you won’t find at many other hospitals. 

Tertiary & quaternary critical care

Tertiary and quaternary refer to the third and fourth levels of care, after primary care, such as your primary care doctor, and secondary care, usually a specialist like a cardiologist who treats a chronic condition. You need tertiary and quaternary care when you are in the hospital for a severe illness or injury. 

Only a limited number of hospitals in the U.S. provide tertiary and quaternary critical care. IU Health is among them, offering advanced, high-quality care by our specially trained critical care physicians. We also collaborate with physicians from a variety of medical specialties such as neuroscience, transplant, oncology and cardiology.

If you require tertiary or quaternary critical care, you’ll benefit from: 

Access to clinical trials

Our Critical Care physicians and many other IU Health specialists perform research and offer you access to clinical trials. Clinical trials involve receiving treatments, medicines or surgeries that are currently being studied and may not yet be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For patients with advanced or rare illnesses, these trials give hope when standard treatments fail. By participating in clinical trials, you also help medicine move forward and improve treatments for future patients. Without clinical trials, we would not have many of the effective and groundbreaking treatments we have today.

Coordinated care

When you require quaternary care, you may have a rare or highly complicated illness or injury. Because of your specialized condition, you require a team approach to care that ensures all professionals involved in your care understand your needs and your treatment plan. Our Critical Care physicians work closely with other specialists who are treating you to control symptoms and complications of your condition, including respiratory failure, pain, bleeding or infection. We support you before and after surgical procedures, and administer treatment and therapy at your bedside so your care is convenient and efficient.

Training and research 

As part of our partnership with IU School of Medicine, we are training the next generation of critical care physicians through our Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program

IU Health physicians also perform their own research and are frequently published in various medical journals. Current research conducted by our Critical Care physicians includes topics such as:

  • Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD)
  • Delirium in critical care
  • Medical ethics
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Transplant immunology

Related Diagnostic and Treatment Services for Critical Care

Patient Stories for Critical Care