An ICU specializes in care for many injuries and health conditions, which can include:
- severe burns
- major trauma
- complex spinal surgery
- respiratory failure
- cardiothoracic surgery
- organ transplants
Different level ICUs offer different levels of care:
- A level 1 ICU can provide oxygen, more intensive nursing care than a ward, and non-invasive monitoring.
- A level 2 ICU offers basic life support for a short amount of time and invasive monitoring.
- A level 3 ICU is the highest level and offers a full spectrum of life support technologies and monitoring.
Admission into an ICU may be planned, such as following surgery, or unexpected, such as after an accident or due to critical health deterioration.