Greetings! I am Derek S Wheeler, MD, FAAP, FCCP, FCCM, an Associate Professor from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, OH, United States (Figure 1), and together with Yaseen Mohamed Arabi, MD, FCCP, FCCM, Associate Professor, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, we will be the co-Editor-in-Chief of the World Journal of Critical Care Medicine (World J Crit Care Med, WJCCM, online ISSN 2220-3141, DOI: 10.5492). We are excited to bring you the inaugural issue of the WJCCM, a bimonthly, peer-reviewed, online, open access journal supported by an editorial board of over 105 specialists in critical care representing over 27 countries across the globe. Each and every member of the editorial board is an expert and leader in the field of critical care medicine. We pledge to bring you, the readers of our new journal, the very latest in scientific and technological advances pertaining to the care of critically ill or injured children and adults.
Figure 1 Editor-in-Chief of World Journal of Critical Care Medicine.
Derek S Wheeler, MD, FAAP, FCCP, FCCM, Associate Professor, Clinical Director, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, United States.
The specialty of critical care developed with the recognition that patients with acute, life-threatening illnesses or injuries were best treated in a geographically distinct area of the hospital, the early precursors of the modern day intensive care unit (ICU). Indeed, Florence Nightingale, perhaps the very first ICU nurse, first recognized the distinct advantages of caring for and monitoring wounded British soldiers as close as possible to the nursing station during the Crimean War of the 1850s[1-5]. Today, the ICU brings together physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health providers from a variety of backgrounds, including surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and pediatrics to care for the critically ill. Indeed, modern ICUs now serve as a focal point or nexus in the complex network of the hospital environment, interacting with virtually every other unit in the hospital. Moreover, there is a growing trend for the development of the “ICU without walls” concept, as most critical care teams are involved with outreach programs, telemedicine and rapid response systems.
There is no question that critical care medicine continues to be an important specialty. The United States currently spends approximately 16% of the gross domestic product (GDP), (nearly $2.3 trillion) on health care, which represents approximately $7400 per person per year. Approximately 1% of the GDP is spent on intensive care services[10-13]. At the same time, the number of ICU beds in the U.S. continues to grow at a rapid pace, with nearly 15% of all hospital beds categorized as ICU beds[14-16]. Several factors are believed to be responsible for this increase. For example, the U.S. population is growing older, and patients are living longer, even in the face of diseases that were previously considered universally fatal. In addition, hospitalized patients are becoming more dependent upon the use of invasive devices and technology. However, this story is far from complete, as a very different picture emerges outside of the United States. For example, in the United Kingdom, ICU beds account for only about 2% of the total hospital beds, as only the most critically ill patients are admitted to the ICU in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. Several studies have shown that there is significant variation between countries on the exact definition of an ICU bed[18,19], which also may partly explain some of the differences in total ICU beds as a function of total hospital beds between different countries.
There are now several different journals dedicated to the care of critically ill and/or injured children and adults. The breadth and depth of the critical care literature mirrors that of the enormous growth of the biomedical literature over the past decade. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the number of research journals increased over 23% from 2001 to 2010. There are now over 30 000 research journals worldwide that publish nearly 2 million research articles on an annual basis. This vast literature leads to a logical question - why do we need yet another journal dedicated to the specialty of critical care? The simple answer is that we can no longer afford to ignore the fact that critical care is a global specialty. As some of the studies referenced above will attest, there is significant variation in the definition, structure, and processes of critical care between different countries. Critical care services in North America may be very different from critical care services in South America, Australia, Asia, Europe, and Africa. The resources available to an ICU practitioner in Africa may be strikingly different compared to the resources available to an ICU practitioner in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or the United States. Moreover, the diseases of interest to the ICU practitioner in Southeast Asia may be very different from the diseases of interest to the ICU practitioner in Northern Europe. A global specialty like critical care deserves a truly international journal that is available to everyone around the world. The WJCCM is an open access journal, which means that readers around the world will be able to immediately download and read, free of charge, high-quality, peer-reviewed articles directly from the journal website. Our goal is to provide an international perspective on the specialty of critical care. As such, we believe our journal will be of interest to readers all over the world.
WJCCM covers topics concerning severe infection, shock and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, infection and anti-infection treatment, acute respiratory distress syndrome and mechanical ventilation, acute kidney failure, continuous renal replacement therapy, rational nutrition and immunomodulation in critically ill patients, sedation and analgesia, cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation, fluid resuscitation and tissue perfusion, coagulant dysfunction, hemodynamic monitoring and circulatory support, ICU management and treatment control, application of bronchofiberscopy in critically ill patients, and critical care medicine-related traditional medicine, and integrated Chinese and Western medicine. The journal also publishes original articles and reviews that report the results of critical care medicine-related applied and basic research in fields such as immunology, physiopathology, cell biology, pharmacology, medical genetics, and pharmacology of Chinese herbs.