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Crit Care Clin. 2009 Jan;25(1):153-64, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.ccc.2008.12.004.

Historical aspects of critical care and the nervous system.

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Departments of Neurological Sciences, Neurosurgery, Medicine, and Anesthesiology, Rush Medical College, 600 S. Paulina Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


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.

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