Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Helping your child’s heart heal

Children’s Health is home to the region’s most comprehensive pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU), where we help children recover from a wide range of heart conditions and surgeries.

Infants and children come to the CICU when they are born with a serious heart condition, are recovering from surgery or need care while they wait for surgery or a transplant. At Children’s Health℠, our CICU is staffed by a team of experts who are trained in both critical care and heart care. We help more than 500 children each year, giving us the experience and expertise to help your child get stronger and get back home, as quickly as possible.

Conditions We Treat

  • Aorto-Left Ventricular Fistula
  • Bicuspid Aortic Valve-Associated Aortopathy
  • Cardiac Tumors
  • Conduits, valved or nonvalved
  • Congenital Contractual Arachnodactyly (Beals-Hecht Syndrome)
  • Cyanotic Congenital Heart (all forms)
  • Double-Outlet Ventricle
  • Duchenne and Becker Dystrophinopathy
  • Ebstein's Anomaly
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Eisenmenger Syndrome
  • Endocarditis
  • Familial Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
  • Infundibular Right Ventricular Outflow Obstruction of Significance
  • Interrupted Aortic Arch
  • Loeys-Dietz Syndrome
  • Myocarditis
  • MASS Phenotype
  • Mitral Atresia
  • Pericarditis
  • Pulmonary Vascular Obstructive Diseases
  • Single Ventricle (also called double inlet or outlet, common or primitive
  • Sinus of Valsalva Fistula/Aneurysm
  • Sinus Venosus Atrial Septal Defect
  • Subvalvular or Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis (except HOCM)
  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Patent Ductus Arteriosus

We treat all pediatric congenital and acquired heart conditions, but these are among the most common we treat.

Mom holding her baby

Experienced care for complex heart conditions

Every day, we treat children who are managing serious heart conditions. Our experienced team understands the challenges and struggles children and families face in the CICU.

We are committed to coming together to find the solutions and care for your child’s needs. This is what drives us to work seamlessly as a team and communicate openly and honestly at every stage of your child’s treatment.

Unique expertise in pediatric critical heart care

Our experienced team understands the challenges and struggles children and families face in the CICU. Our cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists and nutritionists collaborate to help your child recover. By working together as a team, we can help decrease the amount of time your child spends in the CICU.

Members from our nationally renowned CICU team actively publish studies in medical journals, lead clinical research trials and speak at medical conferences across the U.S. This reflects our dedication to not only offering the best possible care here in North Texas, but also raising the bar on CICU care nationwide.

A leader in ventricular assist devices (VADs) for children

Children’s Health is home to one of the nation’s most comprehensive ventricular assist device (VAD) programs. These devices can support a child’s heart when it is too weak to pump the right amount of blood through the body. We offer five types of VADs for infants to young adults – far more than any other hospital in our area. Because we offer so many options, we’ll be able to find the right device for your child.

There’s a very special bond when somebody cares for your child during those type of moments. The relationships that we’ve developed with the practitioners, doctors and nurses are like family to us.
Chelsey, Patient

In the CICU, we have extensive experience monitoring children after surgery to implant their VAD, and during the time while they rely on their VAD. This helps patients stay as healthy as possible.

Supporting your baby’s development

Congenital heart defects and childhood heart surgery can affect a child’s development and lead to learning delays. Children’s Health has a comprehensive Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program to help you support your child’s development, so they get started on the strongest possible foundation.

Our program includes two bilingual neuropsychologists. In addition, we are one of the first hospitals to develop a rounding process that brings neurodevelopmental specialists to your child’s bedside in the CICU. During this one-on-one time with a specialist, we can teach you how to create a nurturing, comforting environment in the hospital and how to best nurture your child’s development. We can also help you find ways to bond and connect with your baby, by doing things like coaching you on how to safely hold and feed your baby while they’re recovering from surgery.

Social and emotional support

We know that staying in a hospital can be stressful for your family and disruptive to your lives. Our CICU Patient Family Experience Group, led by a group of nurses, organizes family activities to help create fun and enjoyable memories during your child’s stay in the unit. This group has hosted fair days, pet therapy sessions and mommy makeovers.

The Heart Center’s dedicated team of social workers are also available to meet with your family to provide counseling and emotional support. We can connect you to Mended Hearts, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer support system that offers excellent support programs and educational resources for families living with cardiovascular disease.

Meet the Care Team