Progress in postoperative ICU management

Charl J. De Wet, Kevin McConnell, Eric Jacobsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The clinical case presented in this article illustrates how many of the more recent advances in the management of critically ill patients apply to current clinical practice. Simple cost-effective general measures (eg, optimal sterile precautions during procedures; hand washing; early goal-directed resuscitation with appropriate fluids, inotropes, and antibiotics; and surgical source control of infected foci) still should form the basis of clinical practice, however. There has been renewed interest in blood transfusion therapy and its associated risks. Lower tidal volume ventilation now is practiced almost universally in patients with ARDS, and several new selective pulmonary vasodilators have extended the armamentarium when taking care of these patients. High-frequency oscillatory ventilation and ECMO remain challenging options in patients with refractory hypoxemia. Appropriate patient selection is important when corticosteroid therapy is considered. Tight blood glucose control and monitoring improve outcome and should be part of ICU care of septic patients. The role of the PAC is controversial. Other techniques to measure cardiac output, hemodynamics, and perfusion are available and should be considered. Sedation and analgesia form an integral part of critical care. Because of its immediate and long-term risks, neuromuscular blockade should be used sparingly and only when all other options have been exhausted. Ongoing education regarding sedation protocols and the effect of sedation on outcome is needed among physicians and nurses caring for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-180
Number of pages22
JournalThoracic surgery clinics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


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