Pediatric Cardiac Inpatient Care

PCICU and Stepdown Unit

Call for an Appointment 855-855-6484

Our dedicated and diverse team of pediatric cardiac experts have advanced training in both critical care and heart care. This type of specialized care translates into better outcomes for children with heart conditions. We care for your child throughout treatment to get them back to health and home as soon as possible.

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About the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU)

Our new state-of-the-art facility with 20+ beds is one of the most technologically advanced in the state. We care for newborns, infants, children, and young adults with a wide range of heart conditions, and we offer the entire spectrum of critical cardiac care. Our unit is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a diverse team led by doctors with specific training in critical and heart care. Our specialized nurses and respiratory therapists deliver the highest level of care with experience and compassion. 

Team of Dedicated Heart Specialists

Our providers -- including pediatric cardiac intensivists, cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, pharmacists, child life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, and other expert subspecialists -- 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 on your child’s condition. Advanced therapies are readily available to meet your child’s needs at any given moment, including cardiac, respiratory, and renal support. 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) that may be used in children with heart failure as a bridge to heart transplantation. Further, our PCICU serves as a national leader in patient safety and performance initiatives.

About Duke Children's

Children needing specialized heart care receive treatment at Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center.

About Our Dedicated Pediatric Cardiac Stepdown Unit

Just like the PCICU, Duke Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center’s dedicated cardiac stepdown unit provides around-the-clock care, including continuous heart and oxygen saturation monitoring. Your child’s care team will meet daily to discusses your child’s progress, new test results, and discharge goals. The rounding team includes pediatric cardiologists, nurse practitioners, cardiology fellows, residents, nurses, pharmacists, registered dietitians, and you, the parents. We also collaborate with social workers, respiratory therapists, occupational and physical therapists, speech therapists, and child life specialists, when needed.  

Preparing for Home
One of our main goals is to help your child transition from the postoperative period and prepare you to care for your child at home. Our dedicated nurse navigator and bedside nurses will teach you how to administer medications, use equipment, and prepare for any emergencies.

Why Choose Duke

Family Focus
We are strongly committed to family-centered care and clear and timely communication. We encourage your family to be actively involved as members of your child’s care team and join in on daily rounds. We understand 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.

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 Navigator
Managing your child’s care can be overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we have a full-time nurse navigator who is dedicated to helping you by answering your questions and coordinating with your care team.

Virtual Rounding for Offsite Parents and Caregivers
We encourage caregivers to be part of the care team for their child. For those who aren’t able to be in the PCICU or stepdown unit with their child 24/7, we offer virtual rounding so you can participate in daily rounds with your child’s medical team in real time. This allows you to stay up to date on your child’s condition, regardless of where you are physically.

Fetal Nurse
If your child has been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition before birth, you may already know that they 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

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

This page was medically reviewed on 06/24/2024 by