Critical Care Medicine
The faculty and fellows of the UNC Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine manage and practice in state-of-the-art combined 30 bed medical intensive care units (MICU). The ICU is the main focus of the care, education, and research missions of this group. All patients receive care from an ICU team that is comprised of the attending physician, Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Fellows, Critical Care Advanced Practice Providers, Internal Medicine residents and 4th year medical students. All attending physicians are Board Certified in Critical Care Medicine. The ICU nursing staff reflect the subspecialty orientations of the unit and are directed by a single nurse-manager. Standard and advanced critical care services are available to evaluate and treat complications of all major organs and multi-system diseases. These include full hemodynamic and respiratory monitoring, intubated and mask mechanical ventilation, hemodialysis, and apheresis.
Approximately 120 patients with acute or chronic critical illness are admitted each month. These patients come through the UNC Hospitals Emergency Department, from the medical or surgical acute care units, and as transfers from other hospitals throughout the state of North Carolina and the region.
Common presenting problems are respiratory failure, sepsis and shock, malignant hypertension, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, renal failure, liver failure, neurological illnesses, and multi-system organ failure. Areas of particular strength are acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), COVID-19 pneumonia, hematological emergencies (e.g. thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura), sickle cell disease, hemophilia, organ transplantation complications, vasculitis, acute and chronic liver failure, and cystic fibrosis. The ICU team works closely with interventional radiology, renal dialysis, apheresis and other specialized treatment services to evaluate and effectively manage critically ill patients with single and multi-system organ failure.
The ICU physician team utilizes hospital-based consultants from all subspecialties of medicine and surgery to provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment expertise. The interventional radiology service provides directed embolization for bleeding, thrombolytic therapy for major clots, transvenous intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and vascular stent placements, and other services as clinically needed. The dialysis service provides routine hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, ultrafiltration, continuous veno-venous hemodialysis, and other therapies as needed. The apheresis team performs plasma exchange (PLEX), RBC exchange transfusion, leukopheresis and other services. Gastroenterology provides full endoscopy services and treatments, including variceal banding, sclerosis of bleeding ulcer and endoscopic retrograde cholecystopancreatography (ERCP). The trauma and general surgery service provides full-time in-house consultations. The transplant teams for all major organs (including kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, lung and bone marrow) provide detailed records and expert consultative services. UNC Hospitals has accredited critical care programs in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and anesthesiology. The directors of these programs work together regularly to provide excellent care and training across all age groups, problems, and specialties.
Clinical Services: For referrals and transfers call 984-974-4500 to speak with the UNC Patients Logistics Center.
Critical Care Research
Many projects include subjects from other UNC Hospital ICUs, including the Coronary Care Unit, the Surgical, Neurosurgical, Cardiothoracic and Pediatrics ICUs, the Burn Unit and the Critical Care Step-down Unit. Clinical research studies are currently active in the MICU. View a list of current clinical trials.