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Challenging Issues in Surgical Critical Care, Trauma, and Acute Care Surgery: A Report From the Critical Care Committee of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma

Napolitano, Lena M. MD, FACS, FCCP, FCCM; Fulda, Gerard J. MD, FACS, FCCM; Davis, Kimberly A. MD, FACS, FCCM; Ashley, Dennis W. MD, FACS, FCCM; Friese, Randall MD, FACS, FCCM; Van Way, Charles W. III MD, FACS, FCCP, FCCM; Meredith, J. Wayne MD, FACS; Fabian, Timothy C. MD, FACS; Jurkovich, Gregory J. MD, FACS; Peitzman, Andrew B. MD, FACS

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: December 2010 - Volume 69 - Issue 6 - p 1619-1633
doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3182011089
Special Report

Critical care workforce analyses estimate a 35% shortage of intensivists by 2020 as a result of the aging population and the growing demand for greater utilization of intensivists. Surgical critical care in the U.S. is particularly challenged by a significant shortfall of surgical intensivists, with only 2586 surgeons currently certified in surgical critical care by the American Board of Surgery, and even fewer surgeons (1204) recertified in surgical critical care as of 2009. Surgical critical care fellows (160 in 2009) represent only 7.6% of all critical care trainees (2109 in 2009), with the largest number of critical care fellowship positions in internal medicine (1472, 69.8%). Traditional trauma fellowships have now transitioned into Surgical Critical Care or Acute Care Surgery (trauma, surgical critical care, emergency surgery) fellowships. Since adult critical care services are a large, expensive part of U.S. healthcare and workforce shortages continue to impact our healthcare system, recommendations for regionalization of critical care services in the U.S. is considered. The Critical Care Committee of the AAST has compiled national data regarding these important issues that face us in surgical critical care, trauma and acute care surgery, and discuss potential solutions for these issues.


From the Division of Acute Care Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Submitted for publication May 14, 2010.

Accepted for publication October 11, 2010.

American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Critical Care Committee—Chair: Lena M. Napolitano, MD (2010); Kimberly A. Davis, MD (2009); Dennis W. Ashley, MD (2009); Gerard J. Fulda, MD (2010); Preston R. Miller, MD (2010); Randall Friese, MD (2011); and Joseph Cuschieri, MD (2011).

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal's Web site (

Address for reprints: Lena M. Napolitano, MD, FACS, FCCP, FCCM, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, 1C421 University Hospital, Box 0033, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0033; email

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.