A cardiac care unit (CCU) is a specialized hospital ward designed to treat people with serious or acute heart problems. People who undergo heart surgery also are placed in the CCU as they recover.
These wards are equipped to provide specialized treatment for heart conditions and are staffed with medical personnel trained in cardiac care. In many hospitals, CCUs treat a growing number of patients who, in addition to cardiovascular disease, have other chronic health issues that require management
Patients are admitted to the CCU for serious, acute, and/or unstable cardiac conditions that require round-the-clock monitoring and specialized cardiovascular therapy.
The most common of these is an acute heart attack or another form of acute coronary syndrome. People with these conditions are prone to rapid, unexpected changes in their condition and typically require ongoing therapy, such as targeted temperature management (inducing mild hypothermia).
Other patients who may require a stay in a CCU include those who:
- Are recovering from coronary bypass surgery
- Have decompensated heart failure, especially if they're especially ill or unstable or need a balloon pump or LVAD
- Require close monitoring following severe heart failure, even if they've stabilized, and are awaiting a heart transplant
- Have acute coronary syndromes, unstable angina, or life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias