Pulmonary Critical Care

Critical Care Support Services works with patients who have breathing issues, including those who require ventilator support. A division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan, we work with every Intensive Care Unit at the University of Michigan Health System, from Neurology to the Trauma Burn Unit. Our compassionate, licensed respiratory therapists provide cutting-edge treatments, while putting patients' needs first.

Who Requires Pulmonary Critical Care Support Services?

Patients who need respiratory care often have a condition, such as:

Our dedicated respiratory therapists may also perform services that include:

  • Delivering inhaled medications from bronchodialtors (inhaled medicines that can open the airways and ease shortness of breath) to antibiotics
  • Providing respiratory support, including the delivery of oxygen
  • Providing ventilator support to assist patients with breathing – both non-invasive ventilation (via a face or nose mask) and invasive ventilation (via a tracheostomy tube)

Respiratory Care Treatments

Our respiratory therapists provide a variety of inpatient treatments:

Oxygen therapy: For people not getting enough oxygen, oxygen therapy – through a facemask or tube inserted in the nostrils – can be administered either in the hospital or at home. A variety of devices are available for use at home depending on your level of mobility. Your doctor will select one that’s right for you.

Inhaled medication therapy: Inhaled drugs reach the airways quickly and directly, such as bronchodialtors to open the airways, antifungal medications and antibiotics. They can also be use for surgical patients on a ventilator, who cannot take medications on their own.

Lung volume expansion therapyFor patients who need to expand their lungs or to keep them clear after surgery, using techniques such as incentive spirometry (a device which measures inhaled air) or CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure involves wearing a mask on the face to blow pressurized air into the airway to keep it from collapsing).

ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation): The brainchild of Dr. Robert Bartlett, a University of Michigan professor of Surgery, ECMO is a sophisticated technology that’s not available widely. A modified version of a heart-lung bypass machine, ECMO does the work of a patient’s failing heart and lungs for a period of weeks, sometimes months – often long enough for the heart and lungs to rest and recover, increasing the patient’s chance of survival.

The University of Michigan is an ECMO referral center. The most difficult cases come here, not only for our depth of knowledge in ECMO technology and care of patients, but for life-saving programs that work in conjunction with ECMO, such as Survival Flight, which flies the sickest patients from around the country on transportable ECMO technology.

PULSE Post-Intensive Care Clinic

Improvements in critical care medicine have led to a growing number of patients who survive critical illness. Many survivors of the intensive care unit (ICU) experience difficulty with cognition, mental health, and physical function following discharge from the hospital.  This clinical syndrome is known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS), and many symptoms are long lasting, with a significant impact on quality of life.

The multidisciplinary Post ICU Longitudinal Survivor Experience (PULSE) clinic is directed by three physicians with specialties in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases, and critical care: Dr. Jack Iwashyna, Dr. Hallie Prescott, and Dr. Jakob McSparron. Drs. Iwashyna and Prescott are internationally recognized thought leaders on the long term impact of critical illness on patients and caregivers. Their research has shed light on the cognitive, physical, and mental health challenges which impact survivors of critical illness. Dr. McSparron is the Clinical Director of the PULSE Clinic. He is the Associate Director of the Critical Care Medicine Unit and Associate Program Director for the University of Michigan Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship.  The leadership team collaborated with representatives from numerous departments at the University of Michigan, including pharmacy, nursing, social work, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and spiritual care to develop a comprehensive post ICU clinic.
All patients are seen by a clinical pharmacist, a social worker, and a physician. Additional providers, including a dietician and spiritual care specialist are available for consultation in the clinic. Dr. Rima Mohammad is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pharmacy who specializes in critical care, hepatology, and infectious disease. She will perform a comprehensive medication review with each patient, paying particular attention to medication changes which were made during the hospitalization and medications which are not indicated. Mari Pitcher is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She specializes in post traumatic stress, anxiety, and major life changes. Ms. Pitcher will perform a comprehensive assessment of each patient, including evaluation of cognitive function, support systems, mental health, and employment/financial status.

To schedule an appointment with the PULSE clinic, call us at 734-647-9342 and request an appointment with Dr. McSparron.

Research for Critical Care Support Services

Investigators at the University of Michigan are actively involved in research on chronically and ventilated patients. Cutting-edge research studies and clinical trials are regularly available to patients who qualify. Visit UMHealthResearch.org for current opportunities.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, call us at 734-647-9342. To schedule an appointment with the PULSE clinic described above, call the same number and request an appointment specifically with Dr. McSparron.