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Center for Adult Critical Care

The Center for Adult Critical Care features more than 30 fellowship-trained and board-certified or eligible critical care specialists, also called intensivists, who deliver 24/7 state-of-the-art intensive care to critically ill and injured patients. 

As the only dedicated critical care hospital in the state, the Critical Care Hospital at VCU Medical Center is equipped with advanced monitoring devices, mechanical ventilators and all the necessary equipment for organ support. It contains all of VCU Medical Center’s adult ICUs.

Specific clinical activities of the VCU Health intensivists include:

Staffing adult ICUs: Intensivists staff all adult ICUs within VCU Medical Center. Models of care include “closed” ICU services and “consultation” or “co-management” ICU services. Intensivists also collaborate with other specialty medical directors, ICU nurse managers and leaders to direct clinical practice of the ICUs.

  • 24/7 care: Intensivists are always available to immediately assist in the care of any critically ill or injured patient at VCU Medical Center. They provide senior physician support to the Rapid Response Team, the Code Blue Team and to all adult ICU services. The daytime intensivists also provide critical care consultation to patients on the Coronary ICU service.

Our intensivists work closely with other VCU Health disciplines to provide high-quality care. Our faculty and staff work in a variety of different intensive care units, including:

Neuroscience ICU

Medical Directors: Courtenay Leahman, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology; Ahmad Bayrlee, M.D., Department of Neurology; Bruce Mathern, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery

The NSICU is an 18-bed unit located on the 11th floor of the Critical Care Hospital specializing in the treatment of patients who have suffered from stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other neurological and neurosurgical conditions. The NSICU serves a diverse patient base with a variety of medical conditions; however, the primary focus is on patients with neurological or neurosurgical issues. In 2010, the NSICU received the Beacon Award for critical care excellence, which places it among the top ICUs in the nation.

NSICU clinical services include patient care by neurosurgical and neurology physicians using a co-management model with the intensivist service.

Cardiac Surgery ICU

Medical Director: Rajiv Malhotra, D.O., Department of Internal Medicine
Surgical Director: Vigneshwar Kasirajan, M.D., Department of Surgery

The CSICU is a 15-bed unit located on the 10th floor of the Critical Care Hospital. The unit specializes in care for critically ill patients after cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgical procedures to treat heart, esophageal and peripheral vascular disease. Beyond standard cardiac surgery, the unit’s specialty services include heart transplants, ventricular assist device implantation, total artificial hearts and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. 

The multidisciplinary CSICU team takes a collaborative approach to patient-centered care. Surgeons and intensivists work in a co-management model of care, with teams comprised of a bedside nurse, board-certified intensivists, cardiac/thoracic surgeons, fellows, residents, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapist, nutritionists, pharmacists and social workers. In 2015, the CSICU received the Beacon Award for critical care excellence, which places it among the top ICUs in the nation.

Coronary ICU

Medical Director: Michael Kontos, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine

The CICU is a 14-bed unit located on the 10th floor of the Critical Care Hospital that specializes in cardiac patient care. The unit provides high-quality patient- and family-centered care. Nurses and other members of the health care team value certification, empowerment, collaboration, teamwork and shared governance.

The CICU serves patients with acute coronary syndromes such as myocardial infarction and unstable angina, cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, cardiac arrest and dysrhythmia. The unit cares for critically ill patients following cardiac catheterization, percutaneous coronary interventions, pacemaker insertion and cardiac defibrillator implants. In addition to standard ICU therapies, the CICU also provides specialty therapies for hypothermia, temporary pacemakers, intra-aortic balloon pumps and pulmonary artery catheters. 

The CICU service is a closed service, with physician care provided by members of the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Internal Medicine. Consultation is provided by the day intensivist.

Surgery Trauma ICU

Medical Director: Paula A. Ferrada, M.D., Department of Surgery

The STICU is a state-of-the-art 28-bed unit located on the 9th floor of the Critical Care Hospital. It is part of the region’s only Level 1 trauma center verified by the American College of Surgeons. 

STICU provides comprehensive, innovative care to a diverse population of severely injured and critically ill surgical patients. The complex care we provide our patients includes continuous renal replacement therapy, advanced modes of ventilation, massive transfusion protocol, extensive wound care and post-surgical resuscitation and care.

The unit has two primary intensivist-led services: trauma ICU, a closed service staffed by trauma/critical care surgeons and intensivists, and surgical ICU, which is co-managed by intensivists and attending physicians. Physicians represent a breadth of fields including these surgeries: acute general, burn, minimally invasive, colorectal, orthopedic, plastic and oncology. They also represent obstetrics and gynecology as well as otolaryngology.

Multidisciplinary teams of nurses, clinical nurse specialists, clinical pharmacists, dieticians, respiratory therapists, family-centered care liaisons, chaplains, nurse practitioners, social workers, critical care fellows, surgical residents and attending physicians collaborate to provide care. In 2008, the STICU received the Beacon Award for critical care excellence, which places it among the top ICUs in the nation.

Medical Respiratory ICU

Medical Director: Curtis N. Sessler, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Associate Medical Director: Kristin Miller, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine

The MRICU is a 27-bed unit located on the 4th floor of the Critical Care Hospital. It specializes in the care of critically ill adult patients with a range of respiratory and/or medical illnesses including: Acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, status asthmaticus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation, sepsis, shock, liver failure, diabetic ketoacidosis, gastrointestinal bleeding and hypertensive crisis. 

The Medical Respiratory ICU leadership embraces a multi-professional approach in which physicians team with nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers, chaplains and care coordinators. In 2010, the MRICU was awarded the Beacon Award for critical care excellence, which places it among the top ICUs in the nation.

Medical respiratory service is a closed service with attending physician staffing by members of the Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. Fellows from the division play an integral role in the MRICU, providing 24/7 on-site supervision of house staff and advanced practice providers for the MRICU’s code red and code blue teams.

Contact Us

We look forward to serving you at VCU Health. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (804) 828-2161.

Our Leadership

Director: Curtis N. Sessler, M.D., Orhan Muren Distinguished Professor of Medicine  
Associate Director: Julie Mayglothling, M.D., departments of Emergency Medicine and Surgery
Director, Intensivist Program: Sammy Pedram, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine

Our Doctors

Department of Anesthesiology

James J. Cooney, M.D., assistant professor
Michael Czekajlo, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor
Christin Kim, M.D., assistant professor
Courtenay E. Leahman, M.D., assistant professor
Jagdip B. Shah, M.D., associate professor
Pranav R. Shah, M.D., associate professor
Vishal Yajnik, M.D., assistant professor

Department of Emergency Medicine 

Christopher J. Hogan, M.D., associate professor

Department of Internal Medicine

Lisa Brath, M.D., professor
Nauman A. Chaudary, M.D., associate professor
Orlando L. Debesa, D.O., assistant professor
Marjolein De Wit, M.D., associate professor
Daniel C. Grinnan, M.D., associate professor
Catherine E. Grossman, M.D., associate professor
Thomas C. Iden, M.D., assistant professor
Markos G. Kashiouris, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor
Rajiv Malhotra, D.O., assistant professor
Kristin B. Miller, M.D., assistant professor
Ray W. (Wes) Shepherd, M.D., associate professor 
Samira Shojaee, M.D., assistant professor
Aamer A. Syed, M.D., assistant professor

Department of Neurology

Ahmad Bayrlee, M.D., assistant professor
Anand K. Sarma, M.D., assistant professor

Department of Surgery

Michel B. Aboutanos, M.D., professor and chair, Division of Acute Care Surgical Services
Rahul Anand, M.D., assistant professor
Paula A. Ferrada, M.D., assistant professor
Stephanie R. Goldberg, M.D., assistant professor
Sudha Jayaraman, M.D., assistant professor
Ajai K. Malhotra, M.D., professor
James F. Whelan Jr., M.D., assistant professor