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There are 4 general economic analyses used in health care: cost minimization, cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and cost utility. In this review, we provide an overview of each of these analyses and examine their appropriateness and effectiveness in assessing critical care costs. In the intensive care unit setting, it is particularly important to consider the patients' quality of life following the treatment of critical illness and to adopt a societal perspective when conducting economic analyses. Therefore, of the 4 economic analyses we cover, we recommend the use of cost-effectiveness and cost utility analyses.