Glossary of Acronym Definitions

ICU Intensive Care Unit

Highest level of care, includes all types of intensive care units. Optional specialty designation include: Burn, Cardiothoracic, Coronary Care, Medical, Neurology, Pulmonary, Surgical and Trauma ICU.

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

Limited to units that provide care for adult patients requiring a lower level of care than critical care units and higher level of care than provided on medical;-surgical units. Examples include progressive care or intermediate care units. Telemetry is not an indicator of acuity level. Optional specialty designation included; Med-Surge, medical or Surgical Step-Down Units.  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.

Medical -Adult

Units that care for adult patients admitted to medical services, such as internal medicine, family practice, or cardiology, Optional specialty designations include: DMT, Cardiac, GI, Infectious Disease, Neurology, Oncology, Renal or Respiratory medical units.


Units that care for adult patients admitted to surgical services, such as general surgery, neurosurgery, or orthopedic. Optional specialty designations include: Bariatric, Cardiothoracic, Gynecology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic, Plastic Surgery, Transplant or Trauma surgical unit.

Medical-Surgical Combined-Adult

Units that care for adults patients admitted to either medical or surgical services. Optional specialty designations include: Cardiac, Neuro/Neurosurgery or Oncology med-surge combined units.

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.