The first intensive care unit in the world: Copenhagen 1953

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2003 Nov;47(10):1190-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1399-6576.2003.00256.x.


After an extensive survey of the medical literature we present compelling evidence that the first intensive care unit was established at Kommunehospitalet in Copenhagen in December 1953. The pioneer was the Danish anaesthetist Bjørn Ibsen. The many factors that interacted favourably in Copenhagen to promote the idea of intensive care therapy, half a century ago, are also described.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology / history
  • Denmark
  • History, 20th Century
  • Hospitals, Municipal / history
  • Intensive Care Units / history*

Personal name as subject

  • Bjørn Ibsen
  • Tone Dahl Kvittingen