Cardiac care units, or CCUs (which some hospitals call acute coronary care units, cardiac intensive care units, or critical coronary care units), are specialized hospital wards dedicated to caring for people with serious or acute heart problems.
Originally designed decades ago to care for people with acute heart attacks, CCUs now also routinely provide critical care to people with acute coronary syndrome, life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, severe heart failure, and people recovering from cardiac surgery.
A CCU is staffed around the clock by nurses, technicians, and physicians specially trained to take care of people with serious cardiac conditions. Typically, the staff-to-patient ratio is much higher in a CCU than in a typical hospital unit, so that each patient can be monitored closely and constantly.
CCUs also make specialized equipment for cardiac monitoring, testing and treatment readily available. All patients admitted to the CCU are placed on a cardiac monitor, which records and analyzes each beat of their heart rhythm, and alerts the staff immediately if serious arrhythmias occur.