As a critical care fellow, I’ll spend a total of two months (four, 2-week rotations) in the cardiac intensive care unit (ICU). I just finished my first rotation there and got to befriend many of the cardiac surgery attendings and fellows who I’ll be working alongside in the operating room next year as a cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellow. One of the reasons I decided to train here was because of how nice the cardiac surgeons are, and that opinion has only been reaffirmed by working with them in the ICU.
The actual workflow in the cardiac ICU depended largely on the number of cardiac surgery cases in the operating room that day. We had our fair share of ventricular assist devices (VADs), ECMO, valve replacements, coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG), etc. Since the majority of these patients were immediately post-op, they already had lines (central, PA, arterial, chest tubes, epicardial pacing wires), so aside from some bronchoscopies and a few lines, there weren’t many procedures to do. Except bedside echo. Lots and lots of echo. 😀
Cardiac ICU was an invaluable experience in learning the postoperative course of the patients I’ll be taking care of next year. Now it’s on to thoracic ICU… and a “q2” call schedule. 😯