New 18-bed vascular ICU opens in UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital

HVN Tower

A new 18-bed vascular surgery intensive care unit has opened on the fourth floor of the UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital, creating a centralized place to provide critical care for patients with the most complex and advanced vascular pathologies.

The specialized vascular ICU, which opened Feb. 1, will extend the diligent and dedicated care provided during the patient’s operation to the postoperative period and will be integral to providing comprehensive vascular care. Patients will be cared for by a collaborative surgical and critical care medicine team focused on achieving the best possible outcome for them.

“This will place all of our vascular surgery patients in one place so that providers will be caring for a more narrow group of patients with similar disease processes and similar surgeries,” said Edward McGough, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and interim chief of the Division of Critical Care Medicine. “As a result, providers will improve in their ability to manage that diagnosis.”

Previously, an ICU on the eighth floor of HVN was shared by thoracic surgery, lung transplant, and vascular surgery, but space was becoming increasingly limited as vascular surgery cases increased. UF Health attracts patients from throughout Florida and across the Southeast for expert vascular care.

The fourth-floor rooms were originally built such that they could become ICU beds, so no construction or renovation was needed. The dedicated space will also help facilitate the transport of patients from the operating room to the ICU in a timely manner.

A Specialized Team

New I-C-U critical care team
The Critical Care Medicine team, including nurses, extenders, and attendings, that will be staffing the new ICU

A new team has been created within critical care medicine to staff the ICU, including extenders, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and a dedicated attending who will staff the ICU each day. These attendings will be from various departments, including Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, and Surgery.

Liza Laquian, M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Acute Care Surgery in the Department of Surgery and a surgical intensivist, will take the lead staffing the new ICU. Laquian, who completed her general surgery residency and a fellowship in surgical critical care at the University of Florida, said she finds it gratifying to care for vascular patients in the critical hours to days after their aortic operation.

“My goal for the vascular ICU is to provide exceptional critical care for vascular surgery patients through close collaboration with the surgical team,” she said, adding that she is interested in identifying postoperative interventions in the ICU that improve patient outcomes.

Critical care medicine is interdisciplinary, drawing on a variety of specialties to ensure that patients receive high-quality care.

“We have created this critical care organization where we integrate anesthesia, surgery, and everyone else in all ICUs,” McGough said. “The idea is we all work together.”

Going forward, the new ICU will also enhance training opportunities in critical care medicine for residents and fellows.

“This presents a valuable opportunity for trainees to learn the intricacies of managing vascular surgery patients and their multiple comorbidities, especially after a major aortic operation,” Laquian said.

Learn more about the Division of Critical Care Medicine.