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 recovery.
Specialized care — all in one location
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.
The 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
- Family support team
- Genetic counselors
- 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.