Neurointensive care

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Neurocritical care or neurointensive care is a branch of medicine that emerged in the 1980s and deals with life-threatening diseases of the nervous system, which are those that involve the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The doctors who practice this type of medicine are called neurointensivists, and can have medical training in many fields, including neurology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, or neurosurgery. Common diseases treated in neurointensive care units include strokes, ruptured aneurysms, brain and spinal cord injury from trauma, seizures, swelling of the brain, infections of the brain, brain tumors, and weakness of the muscles required to breathe. Besides dealing with critical illness of the nervous system, neurointensivists also treat the medical complications that may occur in their patients, including those of the heart, lung, kidneys, or any other body system, including treatment of infections. Most neurocritical care units are a collaborative effort between neurointensivists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, radiologists, pharmacists, physician extenders (such as nurse practitioners or physician's assistants), critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, rehabilitation therapists, and social workers who all work together in order to provide coordinated care for the critically ill neurologic patient. The Neurocritical Care Society was founded in 2002 in San Francisco, California to promote quality patient care, professional collaboration, research, training, education and advocacy with the goal of improving outcomes for patients with life-threatening neurologic diseases. In 2003, the Society first met officially in Phoenix, Arizona. Thomas P. Bleck MD was the first president.

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