Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit

The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute is designed for patients receiving lifesaving medical and surgical procedures. Our multidisciplinary team takes a patient-centered approach to treatment, relying on the latest technology to provide effective care tailored to meet each patient’s unique needs.

During Cardiovascular Intensive Care

If you receive cardiovascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery or a similar cardiovascular treatment, you will then be transferred to a specially equipped acute-care bed in our CICU. In that unit, your care will be managed by a board-certified cardiologist who is available 24/7. In addition, a network of 150 nursing and clinical staff members, physical therapists, social workers and cardiovascular pharmacists work in tandem to provide you with the patient-centered care you need as you recover.

Treatments that may be offered in the CICU include:

  • Hypothermia for sudden cardiac death. By lowering the body’s temperature, this method of treatment can preserve brain tissue and function following cardiac arrest.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). An ECMO machine does the work of the heart and lungs when they are unable to function on their own. Specifically, the machine pumps the blood out of the body to an artificial lung or oxygenator where oxygen is added to the blood and carbon dioxide is removed from the blood before it is pumped back into the body. Gill Heart & Vascular Institute is a certified ECMO Center of Excellence.
  • Implantation of heart-assistance devices. Tools such as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) may be used to regulate heartbeat. The SynCardia Temporary Artificial Heart is another device that may be used in the CICU for patients living with advanced or end-stage heart failure.
  • New catheter-delivered therapy for pulmonary embolus. This option is designed to dissolve blood clots in the lung.

After Cardiovascular Intensive Care

Once you have received the treatment you need in the CICU, you will be transferred to a less intensive care environment in the hospital where you will continue to heal. By taking this patient-centered approach, we are able to help make your transition back to daily life seamless.


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