Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)

Our pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) cares for children from newborns to teens after heart surgery or interventional procedures.

In our 12-bed cardiac intensive care unit (CICU), we care for infants, children and young adults after heart surgery or interventional procedures. We also take care of children who need special monitoring because of a severe cardiac illness.

Our goal is to help their hearts and bodies recover as quickly as possible so they can get back to being children.

Our patients are infants, children, adolescents and young adults, and we keep them – and their families – in the center of everything we do. In fact, the Society of Critical Care Medicine has honored our program for its approach to patient- and family-centered care. We are one of the few pediatric ICUs to have received this award.

What Is Cardiac Intensive Care?

Intensive care involves careful and constant monitoring by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists.

In our cardiac ICU, we care for:

The Cardiac ICU at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute: Extraordinary Care

Having a child in the cardiac ICU can feel overwhelming for families. We do everything we can to ease anxiety and speed recovery. We offer:

  • Award-winning, family-centered care: The Society of Critical Care Medicine presented our ICU with the Family-Centered Care Innovation Award. This award recognizes teams that truly keep the family at the center of care, in every way possible. For us, that means:
    • Involving you in every aspect of your child’s care, including daily rounds
    • Updating you face-to-face whenever possible
    • Making everyone on the team accessible to answer questions
    • Making it easy and comfortable for you to stay with your child 24/7, with a pullout bed
  • Team of specialists: Our cardiac team works under the leadership of a fellowship-trained, board-certified pediatrician specializing in pediatric critical care medicine. Fellowship training means the doctor completed additional training in a specialty, and board certification means the doctor has passed a rigorous exam beyond what is required in their specialty area. Every member of our team is vital:
    • A cardiac intensivist (a doctor who specializes in both pediatric intensive care and cardiac intensive care) heads up the care team and works with the other heart specialists. This includes your child’s cardiac surgeon, electrophysiologist (cardiologist who treats abnormal heart rhythms) or interventionalist (cardiologist who performs nonsurgical procedures).
    • Cardiac nurses provide constant monitoring.
    • Respiratory therapists manage your child’s breathing.
    • Pharmacists adjust medications as needed, and palliative care doctors help manage pain.
    • Child Life specialists ease anxiety.
    • Nutritionists focus on your child getting the right nutrition.
    • Other medical subspecialists, such as a kidney specialist or infection specialist, provide additional care your child needs.
  • Focus on outcomes: We work with the entire heart care team to manage any situation that comes up, including the unexpected. We want every child to recover, gain strength, and go on to flourish in childhood and adulthood. Learn more about how we share information regarding our heart surgery volumes and outcomes.
  • Freedom to be a child: The ICU can be a challenging place for a child. As much as we are able, we give children the freedom to simply be children. We wean them from the ventilator (a machine that breathes for them while their lungs recover) as soon as possible. Our Child Life specialists are experts at engaging children with play, and we offer pet therapy, music therapy and playrooms children can visit when they are well enough.

Call us for more information or to schedule an appointment


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