History of technology in the intensive care unit

Crit Care Clin. 2009 Jan;25(1):185-200, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2008.12.002.


Critical care medicine is a young specialty and since its inception has been heavily reliant upon technology. Invasive monitoring has its humble beginnings in the continuous monitoring of heart rate and rhythm. From the development of right heart catheterization to the adaption of the echocardiogram for use in shock, intensivists have used technology to monitor hemodynamics. The care of the critically ill has been buoyed by investigators who sought to offer renal replacement therapy to unstable patients and worked to improve the monitoring of oxygen saturation. The evolution of mechanical ventilation for the critically ill embodies innumerable technological advances. More recently, critical care has insisted upon rigorous testing and cost-benefit analysis of technological advances.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / history*
  • Biomedical Technology / instrumentation
  • Catheterization, Swan-Ganz / history
  • Catheterization, Swan-Ganz / instrumentation
  • Critical Care / history*
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Echocardiography / history
  • Echocardiography / instrumentation
  • Europe
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / history*
  • Japan
  • Oximetry / history
  • Oximetry / instrumentation
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / history
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / instrumentation
  • Respiration, Artificial / history
  • Respiration, Artificial / instrumentation
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult / history
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult / therapy
  • Sepsis / history
  • Sepsis / therapy
  • United States
  • Ventilators, Mechanical / history