Without effective intervention and care, catastrophic brain injuries and neurological disorders can be disabling and life-threatening. At the University of Chicago Medicine, our neurointensive care experts have extensive training and experience in the management of critical neurological conditions, including stroke and status epilepticus (an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure condition). A thorough diagnostic evaluation, careful monitoring and innovative treatment techniques help our team ensure the best possible outcome for each patient. 

Our dedicated specialty critical care unit, located in the Center for Care and Discovery — Hyde Park, offers advanced monitoring and treatment for patients who require neurocritical care.

In the Neuro ICU, a multidisciplinary team of specially trained physicians, nurses, therapists and other professionals provides collaborative, coordinated and attentive care. At the bedside, nurses assess the patients’ vital functions, speech, movement and cranial nerve responses every hour, or more frequently if necessary. Physical and occupational therapists mobilize patients as early as possible, working with each individual to assess his or her ultimate rehabilitation needs. Highly trained speech-language pathologists evaluate swallowing functions, and experienced dietitians provide guidance on nutrition. Specially trained critical care pharmacists provide invaluable support to physicians and nurses in the Neuro ICU.

The underlying philosophy of our program is patient-centered, patient-specific care. While treating patients with catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury or disease, our team builds relationships with family members and caretakers to determine the most appropriate goals for the patient's care. Treatment decisions are made by a multidisciplinary team comprised of neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, vascular surgeons and physicians in related subspecialties. In the Neuro ICU, this advanced level of experienced, responsive and personalized care helps our patients recuperate, regain their strength and move forward to the next phase of recovery.

Our Neuro ICU specialists have expertise in the management of many neurological disorders, including:

  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Brain infections (encephalitis and meningitis)
  • Brain swelling
  • Brain tumors
  • Nerve and muscle problems that affect breathing, such as myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome 

  • Status epilepticus
  • Stroke
  • Any catastrophic disorder affecting neurologic function