Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care

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Our dedicated and diverse team of pediatric cardiac intensivists 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, 20-bed facility 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 and 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.

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.

About Duke Children's

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

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.

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 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.

A gold badge shows Duke has been nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties for 2023 to 2024
#2 in Nation and #1 in NC for Pediatric Cardiology and Heart Surgery

Duke Children’s is ranked the #2 pediatric cardiology program in the nation and the best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report.

This page was medically reviewed on 12/21/2021 by