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What to Expect in an Intensive Care Unit

When you visit a friend or relative who is in intensive care it can be a traumatic experience. The variety of machines and pieces of equipment used in these units may already be familiar to you since many of them also appear in other types of surgery like cosmetic surgery for example. However if you are paying a visit to someone in an intensive care unit, you might like to know what some of the most common pieces of equipment are before you go there.

This is a complicated looking machine but the job it does is as simple as it is vital; help the patient breathe. There are simple ways of doing this too but the most modern ventilators are highly advanced and have enough built in controls and alarms to make sure that the medical staff are notified immediately if there is any change in the patient’s situation. There have been many different models of ventilator over the years and the current ones in use are set up so that the patient isn’t placed at risk even if there are power supply problems or other technical issues.

Hemofiltration Machine
This may be a less well known machine than the first one but it is still a vital piece of intensive care equipment. It is used in the case of renal failure and works by doing the job of the kidneys in purifying the patient’s blood before it is returned to them. It sounds like an incredibly dangerous procedure but the modern machines which are used are highly effective and it is a process which is often carried out several times a week on each patient.

Intravenous Drips
The word intravenous tells us that something is being placed directly into the person’s veins. This could be, for example, blood, medicine or a solution to treat a dehydrated patient. It is one of the classic images of an intensive care unit and is an extremely fast and effective way of adding a required substance to the person’s system. It is a practice which is widespread across the world and doesn’t require a huge deal of technology.

This is another of the classic symbols of an intensive care unit. There are various different models of ECG machine but they all do essentially the same job. They are used to record the activity of the patient’s heart and give either an onscreen or paper based read out in the form of a horizontal graph. We are all familiar with the idea of ECG machines from films and television shows but you may be surprised to see that many are smaller and less daunting than the ones you have seen on screen.

1 comment:

  1. Patients requiring intensive care may require support for instability (hypertension/hypotension), airway or respiratory compromise (such as ventilator support), acute renal failure, potentially lethal cardiac arrhythmias, or the cumulative effects of multiple organ failure, more commonly referred to now as multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. They may also be admitted for intensive/invasive monitoring, such as the crucial hours after major surgery when deemed too unstable to transfer to a less intensively monitored unit.


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