Neurocritical Care

Comprehensive critical care from diagnosis to recovery

Brain injury, aneurysms and severe strokes require quick treatment for the most successful outcomes. Neurocritical care provides emergency services and 24/7 customized and monitored treatments to help you recover from serious neurological conditions.

Our critical care physicians work with neurologists and neurosurgeons to provide treatment for a wide range of neurological conditions. Neurocritical care services include:

Intracranial pressure monitoring

After a brain injury, aneurysm or severe stroke, is vital to control cranial pressure to prevent secondary injuries, coma or death. A small tube, called a catheter, is inserted through your skull and into your brain to monitor the pressure and drain fluid from around your brain if pressure becomes too high.

Respiratory support

Your blood and brain require adequate levels of oxygen to maintain neurological health. If levels are low, you may need respiratory support — in the form of either oxygen therapy or ventilator assistance.

During oxygen therapy, you wear a mask over your nose and mouth or have small tubes inserted into your nose. These tubes are attached to a tank that pumps oxygen-rich air directly to your lungs so you absorb a greater concentration of oxygen than normal.

A ventilator breathes for you, pumping oxygen-rich blood into your airways and relieving the strain of manual breathing. A ventilator assists in one of two ways – by tracheostomy or endotracheal intubation. A tracheostomy works best for those who require respiratory support for a long period of time. A tube is placed into your trachea through an incision in your neck. An endotracheal intubation allows a tube to run through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your trachea.

Parenteral nutrition

If you are receiving respiratory support or are unable eat by mouth, you may receive nutrition through intravenous therapy (IV) that provides nutrients directly into your bloodstream. The IV solution contains all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients your body needs.

Brain cancer treatment

Many patients receive neurocritical care before and after brain surgery. If your tumor is causing severe symptoms such as seizures, you may be admitted to Critical Care for treatment. Critical Care physicians work closely with your surgeons, oncologists and support team to follow your treatment plan and manage your symptoms.

Continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring

In many neurocritical cases, we may 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 monitor your brain function and identify any changes that may lead to complications or future damage.

Pain management

Traumatic injuries, cancer and other neurological conditions may cause pain that impedes recovery. By using a variety of pain management techniques as well as oral or intravenous pain medicines, we can assist you with pain control. We work closely with you and your team to determine the dosage and best treatment to reduce pain with the fewest side effects.

Vasospasm treatment

After a stroke or an aneurysm, you may 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. Medication treatment is designed to help you control blood pressure and avoid potential clotting in your brain.

What to Expect with Neurocritical Care

Our critical care physicians work with neurologists and neurosurgeons to provide treatment for a wide range of neurological conditions. Neurocritical care services include:

Intracranial pressure monitoring

After a brain injury, aneurysm or severe stroke, is vital to control cranial pressure to prevent secondary injuries, coma or death. A small tube, called a catheter, is inserted through your skull and into your brain to monitor the pressure and drain fluid from around your brain if pressure becomes too high.

Respiratory support

Your blood and brain require adequate levels of oxygen to maintain neurological health. If levels are low, you may need respiratory support — in the form of either oxygen therapy or ventilator assistance.

During oxygen therapy, you wear a mask over your nose and mouth or have small tubes inserted into your nose. These tubes are attached to a tank that pumps oxygen-rich air directly to your lungs so you absorb a greater concentration of oxygen than normal.

A ventilator breathes for you, pumping oxygen-rich blood into your airways and relieving the strain of manual breathing. A ventilator assists in one of two ways – by tracheostomy or endotracheal intubation. A tracheostomy works best for those who require respiratory support for a long period of time. A tube is placed into your trachea through an incision in your neck. An endotracheal intubation allows a tube to run through your nose or mouth, down your throat and into your trachea.

Parenteral nutrition

If you are receiving respiratory support or are unable eat by mouth, you may receive nutrition through intravenous therapy (IV) that provides nutrients directly into your bloodstream. The IV solution contains all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nutrients your body needs.

Brain cancer treatment

Many patients receive neurocritical care before and after brain surgery. If your tumor is causing severe symptoms such as seizures, you may be admitted to Critical Care for treatment. Critical Care physicians work closely with your surgeons, oncologists and support team to follow your treatment plan and manage your symptoms.

Continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring

In many neurocritical cases, we may 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 monitor your brain function and identify any changes that may lead to complications or future damage.

Pain management

Traumatic injuries, cancer and other neurological conditions may cause pain that impedes recovery. By using a variety of pain management techniques as well as oral or intravenous pain medicines, we can assist you with pain control. We work closely with you and your team to determine the dosage and best treatment to reduce pain with the fewest side effects.

Vasospasm treatment

After a stroke or an aneurysm, you may 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. Medication treatment is designed to help you control blood pressure and avoid potential clotting in your brain.

IU Health Neurology & Neurosurgery

Learn more about our nationally ranked neuroscience program uses years of experience, advanced treatments and the latest research on neurological disorders or injuries.

Resources

IU Health Neurology & Neurosurgery

Learn more about our nationally ranked neuroscience program uses years of experience, advanced treatments and the latest research on neurological disorders or injuries.

Patient Stories for Neurocritical Care