A wide range of serious medical and surgical conditions are treated by our PICU staff members and pediatric specialists. Typical diagnoses include respiratory failure, seizures, diabetic ketoacidosis, septic shock, multiple organ failure, multi-trauma, cardiac arrest and specialized surgeries, among others.
One of the principal reasons to admit a patient into an intensive care unit is to be able to keep a very close eye on their progress. To do this, most patients are connected to several different types of monitor, which continuously measure important aspects of the patient's well-being. The most common types of monitoring are:
Wires are often connected to small round adhesive pads stuck on the chest or arms. These pick up the electrical activity of the heart, which is displayed on the monitor as an electrocardiograph. Next to the ECG trace on the monitor will be displayed a number, which is the patient's heart rate.
BLOOD PRESSURE (AND BLOOD SAMPLES)
A small plastic tube is inserted painlessly using local anaesthetic into an artery, either at the wrist or in the groin, allowing the blood pressure to be measured continuously. This can also be used to take blood samples painlessly and quickly.
A slightly larger plastic tube (again, inserted painlessly using local anaesthetic) lies in a big vein (either on the side of the neck, or just below the collarbone). On the outside of the patient, this tube often divides into three or four smaller ones. One of these is likely to be used to measure the central venous pressure (CVP), which is an indication of how much fluid the patient needs (a bit like the gauge on the side of an oil tank). The other tubes can be used to deliver drugs such as sedatives, analgesics or antibiotics. These tubes are also used to infuse any drugs used to support the heart and circulation
Some patients develop kidney failure during their illness, and the work of the kidneys is then done by a special machine that filters the body's waste products out of the blood, just like the kidney. Depending on the type of filter used, this process is called haemofiltration or haemodiafiltration.