Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)

Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)

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Our PCICU is staffed by a dedicated and diverse team of experts with advanced training in both critical care and heart care. Having this type of specialized unit translates into better outcomes for children with heart conditions. Our goal is to care for your child throughout treatment and get them back to health and home as soon as possible.

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About the PCICU

Our 16-bed facility is one of only two PCICUs in the state. We care for infants, children, and young adults with a wide range of heart diseases. Our unit is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by physicians with specific training in critical and heart care. Our nurses are typically assigned to just one critically ill patient at a time, so each child receives nearly constant one-on-one attention.

Team of Dedicated Heart Specialists

Our providers -- including pediatric critical care doctors, cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, occupational and physical therapists, speech therapists, pharmacists, child life specialists, social workers, and nutritionists, among others -- collaborate to provide customized care for your child. This team meets several times a day to evaluate your child’s status and plan next steps. 

Treatment and Safety Technology

Our rooms are equipped with innovative monitoring and safety tools designed to constantly assess and report your child’s condition. Advanced therapies are readily available to provide what your child needs at any given moment, including cardiac, respiratory, and renal support as well as other therapies. This includes extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO, a machine that partially or fully bypasses the heart and lungs to give them a chance to heal) and ventricular assist devices (VADs, which support the lower chambers of the heart). Further, our PCICU serves as a national leader in patient safety and performance initiatives.

Family Focus

We are strongly committed to family-centered care and clear and timely communication. We encourage family to be actively involved as members of your child’s care team and join in on daily rounds. We know that you know your child best, and we want your input. In addition, we want to accommodate family members as much as possible through what can be a challenging and scary time. Parents or other designated loved ones are welcome to stay with their child 24/7. 

Why Choose Duke

Neurodevelopmental Program 
Since babies with cardiac problems may experience neurodevelopmental challenges, we have staff dedicated to this aspect of your child’s wellbeing. Our program nurse coordinates weekly discussions with your child’s care team, educates families about the importance of neurodevelopmental care, and provides enrichment activities. For many children up to age 2, after they are well enough to go home, our neurodevelopmental specialists can follow-up regularly with them in our Pediatric Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic.

Nurse Liaison
Navigating your child’s care can be overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we have a full-time nurse liaison who is dedicated to helping you by gathering updates from your care team and answering questions.

Fetal Nurse
If your child has been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition before birth, you may already know that he or she will need to spend some time in our PCICU. Our fetal nurse will help you know what to expect by arranging a tour of the unit and answering your questions ahead of time so you can hit the ground running.

Breastfeeding Support
Lactation consultations are available for parents of newborns, and mothers who want to breastfeed are encouraged to do so as early as possible.

Best Children's Hospital in NC
In addition to being among the best in the country, Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.
Reviewed: 08/30/2019