Neuro-Intensive Care Unit

Catastrophic brain injuries and neurological disorders can be life-threatening and disabling without effective intervention and care. At the University of Chicago Medicine, our neurointensive care experts have extensive training and experience in the management of critical neurological conditions, including stroke and status epilepticus (an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure condition). A thorough diagnostic evaluation, careful monitoring, and innovative treatment techniques help our team ensure the best possible outcome for each patient.

At the center of the University of Chicago Medicine's world-class Neurosciences Intensive Care Program is our unique Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU). This dedicated specialty critical care unit, located in the Center for Care and Discovery (CCD), offers advanced monitoring and treatment for patients who require neurocritical care. Staffed by full-time neurointensivists, our Neuro-ICU is the only unit of its kind in the area.

In the Neuro-ICU, a multidisciplinary team of specially trained physicians, nurses, therapists, and other professionals provides collaborative, coordinated, and attentive care in a unique environment. At the bedside, nurses assess the patients’ vital functions, speech, movement, and cranial nerve responses every hour, or more frequently if necessary. Physical and occupational therapists mobilize patients as early as possible, working with each individual to assess his or her ultimate rehabilitation needs. Highly trained speech-language pathologists evaluate swallowing functions, and experienced dieticians provide guidance on nutrition. Specially trained critical care pharmacists provide invaluable support to physicians and nurses in the Neuro-ICU.

The underlying philosophy of our program is patient-centered, patient-specific care. In patients with catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury or disease, our team builds relationships with family members and caretakers to determine the most appropriate goals for the patient's care. Treatment decisions are made by a multidisciplinary team comprised of neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, vascular surgeons and physicians in related subspecialties. In the Neuro-ICU, this advanced level of experienced, responsive, and personalized care helps our patients recuperate, regain their strength, and move forward to the next phase of recovery.
Our neurosciences intensive care specialists have expertise in the management of many neurological disorders, including:

  • Stroke
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Status epilepticus
  • Brain infections (encephalitis and meningitis)
  • Nerve and muscle problems that affect breathing, such as myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barre’ syndrome
  • Brain swelling
  • Any catastrophic disorder affecting neurologic function