Glossary of Acronym Definitions

ICU Intensive Care Unit

A separate, clearly designated service area within a hospital solely for the care and treatment of patients who are critically ill. It contains specialized equipment, medical and nursing staff, and monitoring devices necessary to provide intensive care.

Larger medical centers may have more than one ICU. Other hospitals may designate their specialized ICUs with different acronyms. These include:

  • CCU – Coronary Care Unit – A unit dedicated to cardiac care.  Sometimes designated as:
    • CTU – Cardiothoracic Unit.
  • PICU – Pediatric Intensive Care Unit – An intensive care unit dedicated to and pertaining to Children.
  • SICU – Surgical Intensive Care Unit – An intensive care unit dedicated solely to postoperative patients.
  • MICU – Medical Intensive Care Unit – Is another designation some hospital use to designate an ICU dedicated to non-postoperative patients.
  • NICU – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – Dedicated specifically to newborns.
  • T-SICU – Thoracic Surgery ICU – Intensive care for those patients undergoing heart surgery. Also known as:
    • CSRU – Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit.

Step-Down Unit
A step-down unit is an “in between” transitional care area where patients can rest and recover before discharge with a lesser degree of monitoring and staff attention then in an ICU.  Examples of these include:

ICCU – Intermediate Cardiac Care Unit – This unit provides specialized cardiac care to patients who do not require the intensive level of care, but who do require cardiac monitoring and a more intensive nursing care than provided in most ward areas.

VICUVascular Intermediate Care Unit – Encompasses a step-down area that provides care for stable post-operative vascular patients, including those undergoing carotid endarterectomies and endovascular aortic aneurysm repairs.

TCU – Transitional Care Unit – A place where patients are seen and cared for as they transition from Hospital Care to Home Care.

Other Acronyms

ACU – Acute Care Unit – This term is generally used to designate a non-ICU that provides care to both children and adults. It is similar, in many cases, to a general medical-surgery floor.

HEM-ONC – Hematology-Oncology – A unit for the care and treatment of patients with cancers that affect blood-forming cells (e.g. leukemia, lymphoma) and solid tumors

Telemetry – Similar to a step down unit; containing beds where patients have continued cardiac monitoring.