Intensive Care Medicine

Intensive care medicine is the speciality that cares for critically-ill patients, those who are in a life-threatening condition and who are susceptible to recovery. This provides us with a wide-ranging perspective of all kinds of patients and pathologies and makes us one of the most cross-cutting specialities in our current health system. In addition to the General Hospital's Intensive Care Unit, the Intensive Care Medicine Teaching Unit includes the Traumatology ICU, the Cardiac Surgery Post-operative Unit and the General and Traumatology Semi-critical areas.

Our Intensive Care Medicine is a leading service for pathologies such as lung transplants, ECMO, neurocritical care, spinal cord injuries, oncohematology patients, burns and pregnancies, among others. This differentiates us from other centres, as we have access to nearly all critical pathologies, and are consequently able to provide excellent training.

The intensive care medicine resident doctors undertake training in various areas: emergencies, medical specialities, surgery and, mainly, high-acuity areas, such as the General Intensive Care Unit and the Traumatology and Burns.

Its caring activities are characterised by a constant presence in high-acuity areas, as well as hospital duty shifts throughout the residency. Residents are therefore familiarised with intensive care medicine and acquire the ability to address the problems of critical patients and carry out necessary therapies from the first day of their residencies. They learn the basics of haemodynamics, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal treatment, the pharmacological management of vasoactive drugs and antibiotics, among other things. Furthermore, they are an essential part of the cardiorespiratory arrest emergency and care team.

The acquisition of the speciality's specific skills is complemented by training in cross-cutting abilities, such as communication, teamwork and leadership, which allows residents to progressively acquire autonomy, always under the supervision of the appropriate specialists.

We are a teaching unit with various research groups, including the Respiratory Pathology, Sepsis, Haemodynamics, Infections, Neurocritical Patients, Renal Medicine, Polytrauma and Burns Group. In the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), we are represented by the SODIR (Shock, Organic Dysfunction and Resuscitation) Group, which is very active in a wide range of projects and clinical trials. Furthermore, we are part of the UNINN (Neurotraumatology and Neurosurgery Research Unit) and with the Plastic Surgery and Burns group, which are worldwide pioneers in achieving the first full-face transplant and the treatment of burns with enzymatic debridement.

The Department promotes and facilitates the presentation of communications in congresses concerning the speciality and the drafting of articles for the sector's most influential journals, activities which lay the foundations for developing the doctoral theses of their members.

Why practise this speciality at Vall d'Hebron?

  • We are one of the Intensive Care Medicine Teaching Units that have a Smart ICU and three monographic ICUs (Post-operative Cardiac Surgery, Polytrauma and Burns) and two semicritical units.
  • We are a leading centre for lung transplants, ECMO, spinal cord injuries, burns, oncohematology and serious obstetric pathology. We also have extensive experience with neurocritical patients, with the most advanced neuromonitoring systems.
  • From the first day, our residents are always included in all the unit's activities, as it is the first rotation in their training itinerary.
  • We develop specific courses for residents, where we include simulation as an essential methodology for their training (technical abilities, diagnostic algorithms and teamwork).
  • We are part of the SODIR (Shock, Organic Dysfunction and Resuscitation) research group in the VHIR, which facilitates work with renowned researchers at national and international levels.

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