Critical care medicine deals with potentially life-threatening illnesses. Anesthesiologists played a major role in developing this multidisciplinary sub-specialty. Relative to most other physicians, anesthesi-ologists have greater expertise in airway management, mechanical ventilation, drug and fluid resuscitation, and advanced monitoring techniques that are cen-tral to effective care in critical illness. Moreover, the emphasis in anesthesia on physiology, pathophysiol-ogy, and pharmacology, as well as on rapid diagnosis and treatment of acute physiological derangements, provides an excellent foundation for a career in evalu-ating and treating patients with critical illness. The critical care physician (or “intensivist”) also requires broad knowledge that crosses internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, neurology, emergency medicine, and palliative care. Unlike most subspecialty educa-tion, which tends to emphasize a single organ system, intensive care fellowships provide experience in treat-ing patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and the related multiple organ dys-function syndrome (MODS). The American Boards of Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Surgery, recognizing these requirements, sponsor specialized training for certification in critical care medicine. Clinicians who have such certification are increasingly recognized by multinational corpora-tions and organizations as making important contri-butions to the outcomes of hospitalized patients.
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