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Critical Care

In a life-threatening illness or injury, doctors, and patients turn to the experts at MUSC Health. We are one of few programs in South Carolina capable of treating the most severe medical problems, including spinal cord injuries. Our commitment to improving care and safety has earned national recognition for excellence in critical care.

Why Choose Us?

Our services give your loved one access to the highest level of care any time of the day or night. Our team’s expertise helps more people survive and increases their chances of returning to their everyday activities.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Highly Skilled Team of Experts: Here, your loved one receives treatments from doctors who are board-certified in a critical care-related specialty. These experts have passed rigorous exams after completing medical school. Many of our doctors have completed extra training in treating brain injuries (neurocritical care) and severe heart problems.
  • Specialized Nursing: You receive ongoing care from nurses who specialize in caring for critically ill patients. Our team includes nurses with deep experience and special training, including certification in advanced life support.
  • National Recognition: MUSC Health has earned two Beacon Awards from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. We are one of few programs in the country recognized by the University Health Consortium for high-quality, cost-effective care. These honors mean you receive treatments that are just right for your unique needs, and there are lower risks for complications such as infections.
  • Innovation: We are developing new methods that lead to safer, more effective treatments. Our efforts include special practices that lower the risk of infections. We work to reduce the risk of complications with personalized therapies that help your loved one regain mobility as soon as it is medically safe.
  • Treatments Close to Home: Through remote monitoring technologies, MUSC Health doctors share their expertise with critical care doctors in communities throughout South Carolina. We make treatment recommendations that help people receive lifesaving services close to home or transfer to MUSC Health when it is medically necessary. Learn about tele-ICU services at MUSC Health.

Critical Care Conditions & Treatments

Our services can help your loved one survive severe illness and injuries including:

  • Blood infections
  • Heart attack and shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Lung infections (including pneumonia)
  • Respiratory failure, when you cannot breathe on your own
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injuries

The services that are best for your loved ones depend on the problem and may include:

  • Special equipment to monitor vital signs, such as heartbeat and oxygen levels in the blood
  • Therapies that take over the work of the heart and lungs (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO) to sustain life
  • Fluids to help your loved one stay hydrated and get nutrients if eating is not possible
  • Critical medications to help raise abnormally low blood pressure or fight stubborn infections
  • Machines to filter the blood so the kidneys can rest (continuous dialysis)

Critical Care Services

Across all our services, one thing remains the same: our commitment to helping patients and families. We use care practices demonstrated by research to be safe and effective. We also make every effort to include families in daily treatment discussions, so you can take an active role in important decisions.

Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit

MUSC Health treats more heart patients than any other medical center in South Carolina, giving our program an uncommonly high level of expertise. After heart surgery, you may stay in our dedicated cardiothoracic intensive care unit. Our experience helps you avoid complications so you can get back to your everyday life sooner. Learn more about our heart and vascular center.

Medical Intensive Care Unit

Our medical intensive care unit uses a team approach to treat people with existing health problems, such as kidney disease, that have become life-threatening. We also treat severe illnesses such as pneumonia and sepsis in people who have no other medical problems.

Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

Our program is home to one of few doctors in South Carolina with special fellowship training in neurocritical care. This level of expertise helps us treat injuries to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. With specialized monitoring technologies, we can tailor treatments to meet your loved one’s changing needs. Read more about our neuroscience intensive care unit.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

We deliver lifesaving services, including life support, for children’s unique needs. The latest techniques, such as high-frequency ventilation, help children breathe while protecting the lungs. Learn more about pediatric critical care services

Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit

Some life-threatening medical problems are the result of a severe injury (trauma). Our dedicated trauma team delivers personalized care through all phases of recovery, starting the moment you arrive in our emergency department. Find out more about our trauma center.