Newly Published
Clinical Focus Review  |   June 2020
Evolving Role of Anesthesiology Intensivists in Cardiothoracic Critical Care
Author Notes
  • From Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Submitted for publication March 31, 2020. Accepted for publication May 13, 2020.
    Submitted for publication March 31, 2020. Accepted for publication May 13, 2020.×
  • Correspondence: Address correspondence to Dr. Shelton: 55 Fruit Street, White Office 529, Boston, Massachusetts 02114. kshelton@mgh.harvard.edu. Information on purchasing reprints may be found at www.anesthesiology.org or on the masthead page at the beginning of this issue. Anesthesiology’s articles are made freely accessible to all readers, for personal use only, 6 months from the cover date of the issue.
Article Information
Critical Care / Clinical Focus Review
Clinical Focus Review   |   June 2020
Evolving Role of Anesthesiology Intensivists in Cardiothoracic Critical Care
Anesthesiology Newly Published on June 3, 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003407
Anesthesiology Newly Published on June 3, 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000003407
The American Board of Anesthesiology first offered a certification of special competence in critical care in 1986.1  The role of anesthesiologists in critical care was reviewed in Anesthesiology by Hanson et al. in 2001,2  documenting the skills, tasks, and challenges at that time. The COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to review the changes that have occurred at our institution, Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts), as well as nationally and internationally, and how the successful use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has created a large demand for expertise in cardiothoracic critical care.
We will review the current roles of cardiothoracic anesthesiology intensivists in cardiogenic shock and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation at Massachusetts General Hospital to document an example of a successful multidisciplinary team that has been established in an institution with strong departmental interests. Then, a brief history of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation will document the past role of critical care anesthesiologists and their current role with both venovenous and venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. This review will emphasize how the investigation of both cardiac and lung function in these critically ill patients now is essential. Finally, the review will evaluate the early data regarding extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the COVID-19 crisis.