Neurocritical Care

The Penn NeuroIntensive Care Unit (NeuroICU) is dedicated to the treatment of acute brain injuries and offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the treatment and care of patients with severe, life-threatening neurological and neurosurgical diseases. Located at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, a Level I Trauma Center, this distinguished unit is among the most technologically sophisticated neurocritical care units in the nation. An extensive offering of advanced technologies are employed that allow for individualization of treatment by providing an understanding of each patient's unique physiology. The ICU is staffed by board-certified neurointensivists, advanced practice providers, and dedicated nurses with specialized training in trauma, stroke, and neurocritical care. The NeuroICU is also part of the Penn Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Penn Stroke Service sees nearly 1000 patients with ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes each year, of which the most complex cases are treated in the NeuroICU.

Conditions Treated at the Neurocritical Care Unit

Our Neurocritical Care team treats a wide variety of conditions using the latest advanced technology including:

  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • Acute spinal cord injury
  • Arteriovenous Malformations
  • Brain and spine tumors
  • Coma
  • Encephalitis
  • Encephalopathy
  • Head trauma — traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infections of the nervous system
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Meningitis
  • Neuromuscular disorders (Myasthenia Gravis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome)
  • Post-operative management of neurosurgical patients
  • Recent neurosurgical and endovascular procedures
  • Seizures/Epilepsy
  • Severe or deteriorating demyelinating disease
  • Severe neurological manifestations of medical illness
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage/brain aneurysms

Neurocritical Care Services

Our NeuroICU operates 24-7 and treats nearly 2000 patients a year. Our patients receive specialized post-operative care within our 22-bed facility that is equipped with the latest technology.

In addition to round-the-clock care, the PennSTAR flight program provides critical care air medical transportation within a 100-mile radius of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In recognition of our lifesaving efforts, the Neurocritical Care Program was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award for excellence in critical care by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).

Advanced Brain Monitoring Technology

Penn is one of the few institutions in the nation that offers the latest advanced brain monitoring techniques available.

Advanced neuroimaging techniques such as:

  • Angiography
  • CT scan
  • MR perfusion
  • Arterial spin label MRI
  • Functional MRI
  • Diffusion Tensor MRI
  • Infrascan

Advanced neuromonitoring including:

  • Brain oxygen monitoring
  • Brain tissue chemistry monitoring (cerebral microdialysis)
  • Cerebral blood flow monitoring
  • Continuous seizure monitoring (EEG)
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring
  • Near infrared spectroscopy
  • Near infrared spectroscopy

Advanced data integration, visualization and analytic programs, such as:

  • CNS Monitor
  • ICM+
  • Cloud-based data visualization and analytics platforms

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

The Penn NeuroICU enjoys great success in large part due to the shared governance of the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology & Critical Care. This truly multidisciplinary unit functions with the critical care team, nurse practitioners, clinical fellows, resident trainees, and an outstanding neuroscience ICU nursing team. Additionally, Penn Neurointensivists work collaboratively with other Penn Medicine specialists across multiple disciplines including:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Emergency Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Neurosurgery
    • Endovascular neurosurgeons
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nutritionists
  • Occupational therapy
  • Pain Service
  • Palliative Care
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Radiology
    • Interventional neuroradiology
    • Neuroradiology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Social workers
  • Stroke and Neurovascular Service
  • Trauma Surgery

Leaders in Neurocritical Care

Penn's Neuro ICU is a premier academic program with experienced faculty who are the best in their field and serve on the boards of national societies, such as the Neurocritical Care Society and the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care. Successfully blending proficiency and excellence in patient care, teaching and research, the Penn Neurocritical Care faculty are academic clinicians, producing numerous journal articles, consensus statements and practice parameters to guide the diagnosis and treatment of a myriad of diseases both nationally and internationally. The Neurocritical Care faculty have written premiere textbooks on advanced neuromonitoring, neurocritical care, and neuroanesthesia. They host clinicians and educators from around the world to train them in the latest techniques.

Penn patients have access to numerous clinical treatment trials that offer hope and advance the understanding of severe brain injury. Our neurocritical care research includes brain monitoring techniques, acute stroke trials, trials for coagulation disorders, brain tumor trials and spinal cord injury trials.