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Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)

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It’s possible for your child’s heart condition to worsen despite receiving the best treatments. This can be a very stressful time for you and your family, but you can take comfort in knowing we have years of experience caring for critically ill children.

The CICU also is also where children recovering from surgery or catheter-based procedures receive round the clock care and monitoring while they recover from their procedure. 

Why Children’s Health℠?

Offering the first and largest dedicated pediatric intensive care unit in North Texas, Children’s Health provides life-saving care to over 800 critically ill children every year. Using a team approach that includes our patient’s families, we help children recover as quickly and safely as possible.

Conditions We Treat

We provide round the clock care for advanced forms of heart disease:

  • Heart infections (cardiomyopathies) that occur as a result of another medical problem
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that's not under control
  • Children with advanced heart failure awaiting heart transplant surgery
  • Respiratory failure and other breathing problems
  • All congenital heart conditions


We also provide care to children preparing for or recovering from heart surgery or cardiac catheterization procedures

Expert Care

Our family-centered environment helps parents feel at ease:

  • The CICU has been designed with your entire family’s comfort in mind. Rooms are very large, with plenty of space for you to stay overnight with your child.
  • We build a trusting relationship with each of our families, spending time with you every day discussing your child’s condition. You know your child best, so we ask for your input in their ongoing care.
  • We want you to feel comfortable caring for and nurturing your child. We encourage you to get involved in your child’s daily activities such as changing diapers, bathing and feeding.
  • Our Mended Little Hearts program provides parents with much needed support by connecting them with other families of children who have congenital heart disease.


When it’s time to go home, you’ll feel comfortable and confident about caring for your child on your own with help from our Safe at Home program.

Treatments

Using a team approach, experts in every aspect of your child’s well-being work together to provide care, comfort and support:

  • Pediatric cardiac intensivists are specially trained doctors from UT Southwestern with expertise in both cardiology and critical care who coordinate your child’s overall care. Meeting regularly with other specialists and therapists in the CICU, their sole focus is your child’s recovery
  • Critical care nurses provide care all hours of the day and night and are an important part of your child’s care team. They have expertise in all aspects of advanced pediatric heart disease.
  • Respiratory therapists provide specialized breathing treatments. Our therapists receive advanced training above and beyond what a typical respiratory therapist may receive. This helps them care for children with even the most complex conditions
  • Pharmacists dedicated to the CICU review your child’s medications every day, keeping them safe from harmful drug interactions
  • Dieticians with expertise in helping children with heart disease look after your child’s nutritional needs
  • Social workers and translators help the CICU team meet the non-medical needs of our patients and their families.
  • Neurodevelopment specialists monitor children with single ventricle defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, providing early identification and support for developmental delays. Learn more about our neurodevelopment clinic


Special technology allows the CICU team to monitor your child’s condition from anywhere in the Heart Center. If your child’s needs change, we’ll know right away and send help immediately.