The Critical Care section of the Department of Anesthesiology provides care across a variety of specialty ICUs at the University of Utah and affiliated hospitals including the Surgical ICU (SICU), Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU), Neuro Critical Care Unit (NCC), Huntsman Cancer Institute ICU (HICU), and the George Whalen Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center Surgical ICU (VA SICU). Our section includes nine fellowship-trained, American Board of Anesthesiology certified critical care specialists who care for complex, critically-ill patients in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team of providers from general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, emergency medicine, pulmonology, neurosurgery, and neurology.

As a regional tertiary care center, Level 1 Trauma Center, Stroke Center of Excellence, and National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Utah and its affiliated hospitals care for a wide range of critically ill patients. 

The SICU is responsible for care of trauma patients as well as critically ill patients from general surgery, urology, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, and abdominal solid organ transplant surgery. It is a 12-bed unit that is staffed by specialists from trauma surgery and anesthesiology. 

The CVICU cares for cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgery patients, as well as thoracic transplant surgery patients and patients receiving care with mechanical circulatory support systems (MCS). As a tertiary heart failure surgery center, our patients undergo a variety of complex cardiac interventions including coronary artery bypass grafting, heart valve repair and replacement, trans-catheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), pulmonary thrombo-embolectomy, septal myectomy, and left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation. We additionally care for patients receiving MCS for acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolism, end-stage heart failure, and prolonged cardiac arrest after myocardial infarction. 

The NCC cares for both neurology and neurosurgical patients. As a Level 1 Trauma Center and accredited comprehensive stroke center, the NCC cares for patients after a variety of neurologic emergencies including ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage. This 23-bed unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team with providers from anesthesiology, emergency medicine, neurology, and neurosurgery.

The HICU is a mixed medical-surgical ICU specializing in the care of oncologic patients. As a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Huntsman Cancer Institute cares for patients suffering from a wide variety of oncologic processes. In the HICU our patients present with diseases as varied as blast crisis, tumor lysis syndrome, intracranial hemorrhage, and acute organ failure. This 16-bed unit (soon to expand to 25 beds) is attended by specialists from pulmonology and anesthesiology where we work closely with our colleagues from hematology, oncology, bone marrow transplant, and a variety of surgical specialties. 

The VA SICU is located at the George Whalen VAMC adjacent to the University of Utah campus. This VA hospital cares for patients living in over 20% of the continental US land mass and is a national VA referral center for heart failure surgery including LVAD and heart transplantation. The 10-bed unit is staffed by physicians from anesthesiology, cardiothoracic surgery, and emergency medicine. 

In addition to clinical duties, our faculty have a variety of education and research interests. Specific areas of ongoing research include bedside application of echocardiography in the ICU and coagulation abnormalities in MCS patients. Additional research interests include MCS more broadly, including applications in COVID-19 infection and refractory cardiogenic shock. 

Our faculty participate in the education of trainees from the anesthesiology, general surgery, neurology, and neurosurgery residency programs and the surgical critical care, pulmonology and critical care, neurocritical care, and cardiothoracic anesthesia fellowship programs. Additionally, senior medical students have the opportunity to complete their critical care clerkship in several of the ICUs staffed by our faculty. We are currently in the process of proposing a new fellowship program in critical care anesthesiology. 





Sean D. Overton, MD