Over the years, Intensive Care has made the most progress compared to other branches of medicine. Technological and pharmacotherapy developments have vastly improved the quality and efficacy of treatment offered to patients in a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The ICU is designed to treat patients suffering from emergencies and need critical care. Not all patients are sent to the ICU, but people with respiratory conditions often qualify for critical care. They are admitted to the hospital’s respiratory ICU where they receive treatment from highly skilled respiratory therapists and access to cutting-edge treatments.

What respiratory conditions qualify for ICU treatment?

Respiratory conditions are common and seen in millions of people around the world. The common factor among these conditions is that they can impair your breathing. This leads to a variety of life-threatening results, including decreased oxygen being transported to your organs, especially the brain. Some respiratory conditions that necessitate ICU treatment are:

Chronic bronchitis: Persistent cough and difficulty breathing caused by inflamed bronchial tubes.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD: Group of progressive lung diseases that cause obstructed airflow to the lungs.

Pneumonia: Infection that causes inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs.

Cystic fibrosis: Hereditary disease that is characterised by thick mucus that block the lungs.

Acute or chronic respiratory failure: Short- or long-term condition that affects blood oxygen levels.

How are respiratory conditions treated in the ICU?

The teams working in the ICU are specially trained in treating respiratory conditions and other medical emergencies. They offer services such as:

  • Providing inhaled medications such as bronchodilators and antibiotics to alleviate the patient’s symptoms.
  • Provide ventilator support to help patients with breathing. This includes both invasive ventilation through tracheostomy tube and non-invasive ventilation through face masks.
  • Provide respiratory support treatments such as oxygen therapy, inhaled medication therapy, lung volume expansion therapy and extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation.
  • Provide post-operative care.
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