Historical Aspects of Critical Care and the Nervous System

Thomas P Bleck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The appropriate starting point for a history of neurocritical care is a matter of debate, and the organization of facts and conjectures about it must be somewhat arbitrary. Intensive care for neurosurgical patients dates back to the work of Walter Dandy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1930s; many consider his creation of a special unit for their postoperative care to be the first real ICU. The genesis of neurocritical care begins in prehistory, however. This article gives a predominantly North American history, with some brief forays into the rest of the world community of neurointensivists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Care Clinics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Critical care
  • Edwin Smith surgical papyrus
  • Harvey Cushing
  • Hugh Cairns
  • Neurocritical care
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Peter Safar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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