Intensive care medicine

What is intensive care medicine?

An intensive care unit is a specialised service that allows patients in a critical condition to be taken care of. These patients may need monitoring closely or present acute organ failure.

The role of the intensive care doctor

Their role is to compensate for failing organs with:

  • medications supporting the heart and circulation;
  • equipment assisting the failing organ. For example, mechanical ventilation or circulatory support allow for survival until the recovery of the functions of the failing organ.


Admission may both be scheduled, for example, after major surgery or during medical treatments that may have potentially serious complications, and take place in an emergency, for example, with a serious infection, or a heart, respiratory or neurological problem.

Upon admission, more or less invasive continuous monitoring of vital parameters is established on the basis of the patient’s clinical condition. This allows for close monitoring of the patient, as well as continuous adaptation of the treatment. Once the patient’s clinical condition has been stabilised or the risk of serious complication has been averted, the patient is transferred to a standard care unit.