program program anesthesia c true

Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine

Critical Care Division

The Critical Care Division integrates education, evidence-based medicine and research to provide specialized, multidisciplinary anesthesia care to critically ill adult patients.
Critical Care Anesthesia
Critical Care Anesthesia

Explore This Division

About This Program

The Critical Care Division in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital integrates education, evidence-based medicine and research to provide specialized, multidisciplinary anesthesia care to critically ill adult patients.

Our clinical team includes intensivists (physicians who are board-certified in critical care in addition to anesthesiology, surgery or medicine), critical care nurses and nurse practitioners who have advanced training in critical care including echocardiography and cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) training, and critical care fellows.

We support patients in three Mass General ICUs:

  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU), a 20-bed unit dedicated to caring for patients recovering from general, thoracic, trauma, vascular, orthopedic, gynecologic and obstetric surgeries
  • Heart Center Intensive Care Unit (HCICU), a 36-bed unit dedicated to the management of cardiothoracic patients including heart transplants, lung transplants, ventricular assist devices and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Blake 12, an 18-bed unit dedicated to caring for acutely and critically ill surgical, neurological, medical and transplant patients

Each unit is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our clinicians are readily available to provide emergent airway coverage throughout the hospital.

The Critical Care Division also staffs the Mass General Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), the recovery room where all non-critically ill patients are able to rest after surgery. Patients recovering from surgery in the PACU receive expert care from their multidisciplinary care team.

Services We Provide

We support critically ill patients with all types of medical and surgical conditions. Our services include:

  • General and subspecialty surgical and medical critical care services including cardiovascular and thoracic care
  • Emergency airway services at Mass General
  • Emergency circulatory shock consults at Mass General
  • Emergency point-of-care ultrasonography/echocardiography
  • Mechanical circulatory support, or ECMO support, a specialized form of life support providing circulation and oxygenation

Patient- and Family-centered Approach to Care

The critical care team works closely with patients and their families to help them familiarize themselves with what to expect when receiving care, provide answers to questions before and after their procedures and ensure that their individual needs and goals are factored into the care plan. Patients and their families are active participants in the decision-making discussions related to treatment options and plans. The team always strives to build a thoughtful, coordinated and personalized plan of care in collaboration with the patient and their family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who comprises the ICU team?

Our diverse and broadly trained critical care team includes board-certified intensivists — many of whom are also fellowship trained — from various backgrounds including anesthesiology, emergency medicine, medicine and surgery. In addition, the team also includes nurse practitioners, physician assistants, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and resident and fellow physicians-in-training.

What kinds of patients do critical care providers treat?

We are dedicated to the management and care of critical care patients that are being treated medically, e.g., patients with decompensated heart failure who are being treated by mechanical circulatory shock, or surgically, e.g., patients undergoing or recovering from procedures such as vascular surgery, thoracic surgery, heart transplants and lung transplants.

What can I expect from my critical care team?

As a patient, you will receive 24-hour care from our team. We work closely with all providers on the ICU team, including specialty consultants, to ensure that you are receiving comprehensive, personalized treatment. We will also communicate regularly with family members and pride ourselves on our patient- and family-centered approach to critical care.

What is the education and training of a critical care physician at Mass General?

All of our ICU physicians are board-certified in critical care medicine. Many are also fellowship trained.

What is ECMO?

ECMO is a cardiac and respiratory support device that supports patients with severe heart and lung failure as a bridge to recovery or transplantation.

Mass General is recognized as an ECMO Center of Excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization, an international consortium of health care professionals and scientists who develop and evaluate new therapies for support of failing organ systems.

Investing in Future Leaders

Kyan Safavi
Kyan Safavi, MD, MBA, critical care physician at Mass General

The Critical Care Division provides opportunities for medical students, residents and fellows to study under leading critical care experts.

Each year, eight fellows are accepted into the Critical Care Anesthesia Fellowship program, rotating in the Ellison 4 SICU, the B8/E9 Heart Center ICU and the Blake 12 ICU during the course of 12 months. Through complex cases and hands-on training, fellows and residents are prepared for a career in the care of critically ill patients and management of an ICU.

Learn more about our fellowship program

The Mass General Difference

Mass General is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in more than a dozen different specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure patients receive the best care at all points during their visit. Our patients benefit from shared expertise, leading research and our commitment to quality and excellence.

Patient Resources

Patients receiving critical care at Mass General are encouraged to use these resources to prepare for the ICU.

Surgical ICU
Surgical ICU

Surgical ICU

The SICU cares for critically ill patients recovering from surgical intervention.

Heart Center ICU
Heart Center ICU

Heart Center ICU

The HCICU focuses on cardiothoracic management.

Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit
Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit

Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit

Surgical, neurological, medical and transplant patients receive around-the-clock care.


Staff Spotlights

Innovation within the Critical Care Field

In addition to providing expert care to patients, our intensivists conduct innovative research on critical care, speak at national and international conferences, publish frequently, teach courses on critical care and work on clinical performance improvement projects to advance care at Mass General.

The Anesthesia Research Center

The Anesthesia Research Center (ARC) brings together essential research resources for department investigations and consists of clinical research coordinators/fellows, data scientists, statisticians and research administrators with extensive experience in clinical research. The ARC helps to facilitate all aspects of a research project, from study start-up to completion, and with services spanning Institutional Review Board assistance, subject recruitment, data collection/entry and statistical analysis. The ARC has also established a pathway that leverages the electronic health record so departmental investigators can get involved in observational research. By providing a robust research infrastructure, the ARC aims to support investigators throughout the research process in an effort to optimize study design and execution, regulatory oversight and statistical methods.

Learn more about the ARC

Learn More

The Critical Care Division integrates education, evidence-based medicine and research to provide specialized, multidisciplinary anesthesia care to critically ill adult patients.