A Critical Care Unit (CCU), commonly referred to as Intensive Care Unit (ICU), is a specialized department in the hospital that plays a crucial role in providing advanced medical care and monitoring for patients with life-threatening conditions. At Pikeville Medical Center (PMC), the ICU acts as a critical lifeline for patients requiring intensive, round-the-clock care as it houses some of the most advanced equipment found anywhere in the region.


The dedicated men and women, in these departments, work tirelessly to treat patients who are critically ill. Many patients in the ICU are placed there due to severe medical conditions such as heart failure, respiratory distress, major trauma, organ failure or complications following complex surgeries.


Newly updated and renovated, PMC’s ICU is meticulously designed to optimize patient care featuring 53 ICU beds equipped with advanced monitoring systems, ventilators, dialysis machines, defibrillators, cardiac monitors and more. The physical layout of the ICU promotes efficient care and allows healthcare providers to readily access patients in need. In these areas, many nurses only care for one to two patients at a time, ensuring the patient’s care is concentrated and tailored to each specific need. PMC has eight ICU physicians and numerous nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and other support staff who are specifically trained to treat critically ill patients.


Advanced monitoring systems work continuously to track vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate, allowing healthcare providers to detect changes and intervene promptly. Additionally, the PMC ICU utilizes specialized techniques and treatment not offered anywhere else in the region.


PMC’s ICU staff strives to provide family-centered care and support by allowing families to visit their loved ones under specific guidelines to offer comfort and reassurance. Additionally, they engage in regular communication with families, explaining the patient’s condition, treatment plan and progress. These things combined help to alleviate anxiety in patients and their family.


With the combination of advanced technology, cutting-edge techniques, dedicated and caring staff Pikeville Medical Center ICU is dedicated to saving lives.


PMC Provides Lifesaving Care to the Region


Critical Care Nurses with ECMO

When critically ill patients require more advanced life-saving care than a traditional ventilator can provide, they may be a candidate for what is known as Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). PMC is the only hospital in the region to offer this life-saving technique that provides temporary support to patients with severe respiratory or cardiac failure in the ICU. ECMO functions as an advanced form of life support similar to a heart-lung bypass machine used during open heart surgery. It takes over the function of the lungs, heart, or both, allowing these organs to rest and recover.


ECMO is used for various critical care situations. In cases of severe respiratory failure, this machine can provide oxygenation and carbon dioxide removal by temporarily bypassing the lungs. In severe cardiac failure, it can assist the heart by pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body, giving the heart a chance to recover and regain its strength. ECMO can be used during complex surgeries or as bridge therapy for recovering transplant patients.


The decision to initiate the process utilizing the ECMO is carefully considered for each individual patient and their condition. This advanced technology has revolutionized critical care, providing a lifeline for patients with severe respiratory or cardiac failure. By temporarily supporting or replacing the function of the lungs or heart, ECMO offers a better chance for recovery.



Pikeville Medical Center