Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Our goal is to help children recover from heart conditions with as little stress as possible. Our team performs all diagnostic testing, surgeries and follow-up care at Norton Children’s Hospital to eliminate the need to travel to multiple locations for care.

We offer specialized care and advanced technology, including ventricular assist devices (VADs) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), an advanced medical technology that provides heart and lung bypass when a child’s heart and/or lungs fail or need a rest. A cardiac intensive care doctor is present in the CICU 24 hours a day, seven days a week should a child need emergency evaluation.

What Is a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit?

A cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) is a hospital inpatient unit for babies, children, teens and young adults who are critically ill with heart conditions. Additionally, adults who were born with a congenital heart condition are treated in a CICU. A CICU is staffed with cardiac critical care providers, including dedicated nursing staff and other professionals solely focused on heart care. Research shows that care in a CICU can improve a child’s outcomes.

Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Heart conditions are very complex and can be life-threatening. Yet, in many hospitals, children with heart issues are cared for on general pediatric intensive care units. Having a dedicated space and team with advanced training and experience in caring for children with heart conditions leads to better care and better outcomes — and a better experience for patients and their families.

Norton Children’s Hospital is home to the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) — the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky. Children recovering from heart procedures, including open heart surgery and heart transplants, or who have heart failure or other conditions requiring intensive heart care, can have long stays in the hospital. The unit has 17 private rooms, with private bathrooms and showers, offering families comfort, privacy and the ability to be with their child as much as possible.

Who Is on Our CICU Team?

Caring for critically ill children with heart conditions requires a highly trained and specialized team of providers. Our CICU team members have pediatric cardiac critical care expertise and work together to create a unique plan for each patient. The team works together the entire time your child is in the CICU.

While in the CICU, your child may be cared for by:

  • Pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons
  • Pediatric heart transplant surgeons
  • Pediatric cardiologists
    • Fetal cardiologists
    • Adult congenital heart disease cardiologists
    • Heart failure/heart transplant cardiologists
    • Pediatric cardiac catheterization cardiologists
    • Pediatric electrophysiologists
  • Pediatric critical care physicians
  • Cardiovascular anesthesiologists
  • Cardiac critical care nurses
  • Cardiac nurse practitioners
  • Critical care pharmacists
  • Child life specialists
  • Diagnostic imaging specialists
  • Dietitians
  • Family support team
  • Genetic counselors
  • Psychologists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers

A nurse clinician is available for families in the CICU to help coordinate care and prepare for life outside of the CICU.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is rated higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Heart Institute Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons rated Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to treat a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient offices in Ashland, Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, London, Madisonville, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Shepherdsville in Kentucky; as well as Corydon, Jasper, Madison and Scottsburg in Indiana; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has awarded the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care .
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.
Heart – 2929

Norton Children’s Heart Institute

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Norton Children’s Heart Institute growth helped pediatric cardiologist decide to move to Louisville

Pediatric cardiologist Sarah J. Wilkens, M.D., MPH, has trained to care for the sickest children — heart failure and transplant patients. “Ultimately what motivates me are the patients and trying to support their families in […]

Read Full Story

Pediatric cardiac surgeon connects with patients as a mom

Deborah J. Kozik, D.O., didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, she describes her family as blue-collar and her mother as someone who influenced her to swing […]

Read Full Story

Jennifer Lawrence CICU’s first patients move in

The first patients have moved into the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital. More than 60 staff members lined the hallway to welcome the first patient and the caregivers who […]

Read Full Story

Nurse clinician makes coordinated care possible in the CICU

Stephanie Deitchman, R.N., BSN, is a caregiver in both senses of the word. She has been the registered nurse caring for patients in the “Just For Kids” Critical Care Center at Norton Children’s Hospital. She […]

Read Full Story

Erle H. Austin III, M.D., reflects on Norton Children’s Heart Institute growth

The newly opened Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital was made possible by gifts to the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation and is specifically for cardiac patients. It provides an opportunity […]

Read Full Story
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Norton Children’s Heart Institute growth helped pediatric cardiologist decide to move to Louisville

Pediatric cardiologist Sarah J. Wilkens, M.D., MPH, has trained to care for the sickest children — heart failure and transplant patients. “Ultimately what motivates me are the patients and trying to support their families in […]

Read Full Story

Pediatric cardiac surgeon connects with patients as a mom

Deborah J. Kozik, D.O., didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, she describes her family as blue-collar and her mother as someone who influenced her to swing […]

Read Full Story

Jennifer Lawrence CICU’s first patients move in

The first patients have moved into the Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital. More than 60 staff members lined the hallway to welcome the first patient and the caregivers who […]

Read Full Story

Nurse clinician makes coordinated care possible in the CICU

Stephanie Deitchman, R.N., BSN, is a caregiver in both senses of the word. She has been the registered nurse caring for patients in the “Just For Kids” Critical Care Center at Norton Children’s Hospital. She […]

Read Full Story

Erle H. Austin III, M.D., reflects on Norton Children’s Heart Institute growth

The newly opened Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital was made possible by gifts to the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation and is specifically for cardiac patients. It provides an opportunity […]

Read Full Story

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