What to Expect in the Norton Children’s Hospital Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

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The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) provides a wide range of expertise in caring for children with heart conditions, including:

  • Care before and after heart surgery, including heart transplants and surgery in infants with congenital heart disease
  • Care following cardiac catheterization and hybrid procedures
  • Patients requiring mechanical heart assistance, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices (VADs)
  • Patients with heart disease who require intensive care for noncardiac diseases or surgeries
  • Patients with complex arrhythmias
  • Patients with pulmonary hypertension
  • Patients with heart failure and cardiomyopathy
  • Newborns needing diagnosis and stabilization of heart conditions

What You Can Expect in the CICU

Your baby will be taken care of by a team of nurses, nurse practitioners, fellows and physicians who specialize in the care of critically ill children with congenital and acquired heart disease. An attending cardiac intensivist is available in the hospital at all times should your baby require emergency care.

Cardiac nurses will be assigned to care for your baby. These nurses have special expertise in the care of children with cardiac disease. Nurses will provide comfort, pain control, feedings, medications, and will draw blood work that is necessary to monitor your baby during the recovery period. Our cardiac nurses are happy to answer any questions you may have about your baby’s care.

Every morning around 7 a.m., the cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and CICU physicians will visit every patient’s bedside. This is called “rounding.” During this time, they will discuss the general plans for your baby for that day. After surgical rounds are finished, the CICU team will come to each patient’s bedside, perform a physical exam, and discuss detailed plans and goals for your baby for the day. This is a great time for you to ask questions of the medical team. Rounding times vary depending on the number of patients in the CICU and the critical nature of some patients who may require urgent or emergency care.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

  • 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.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified our cardiothoracic surgeons in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Adult Congenital Heart Association has accredited Norton Children’s Heart Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program as the only comprehensive care center in Kentucky and Indiana treating adults born with a heart defect.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has offices across Kentucky and Southern Indiana to bring quality pediatric heart care closer to home.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.
The Adult Congenital Heart Association has recognized Norton Children's Heart Institute for its expertise treating adult congenital heart disease.

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