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Editorials |

Evolution of ICU DesignEvolution of ICU Design: Smarter Is Better

Curtis N. Sessler, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Center for Adult Critical Care, Medical Respiratory ICU, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals and Physicians, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.

Correspondence to: Curtis N. Sessler, MD, FCCP, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Box 980050, Richmond, VA 23298; e-mail: csessler@vcu.edu


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;145(2):205-206. doi:10.1378/chest.13-2746
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Extract

Intensive care medicine is commonly considered to originate with the systematic management of poliomyelitis victims suffering from respiratory failure in the 1950s. Large numbers of patients had a life-threatening medical problem: acute respiratory failure, for which there was a high tech treatment strategy—the iron lung respirator. By placing these patients in a common hospital setting—among the earliest ICUs—effective medical care could be administered more efficiently by experts using highly specialized equipment and providing comprehensive standardized care. Historical photographs of the expansive open wards that housed the many poliomyelitis patients and their ventilators illustrate the systematic approach applied to the problem but also underscore how little resemblance these early “ICUs” bear to modern ICUs. Beginning with this issue of CHEST (see page 399), Halpern1-3 provides an insightful and in-depth review of ICU structure and function in a series of three articles aptly titled “Innovative Designs for the Smart ICU.” He brings considerable first-hand experience to the task and is the recipient of awards related to exceptional ICU design. His reviews emphasize the many practical aspects of the process of ICU design and implementation and will be a valuable resource for all individuals who are contemplating new ICU construction or ICU renovation. Particularly noteworthy is the substantial emphasis on the increasingly important and complex issue of ICU informatics.3

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