Current Environment:

Boston Children's Hospital has assumed a leadership role in the development of pediatric cardiac intensive care as a specialized service, and we’ve continued to expand our cardiac intensive care team over the years.

Training the best

The success of our program has served as a model for the development of other programs treating children with heart disease across the United States and the world.

We’ve maintained a strong commitment to train the next generation of physicians and nursing staff, and as a result, the medical directors of many of the cardiac intensive care units at pediatric hospitals worldwide are graduates of our teaching and training programs.

Take a tour of our CICU

Staff of experts

The Gail Federici-Smith and Family Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) plays a pivotal role within the Heart Center at Boston Children’s. A team of experienced physicians and nurses are dedicated to the collaborative management of patients in the CICU.

Patient safety and quality is a priority in our CICU, and is undertaken in a rigorous manner with regular reviews of all of our practices and procedures. Our physicians work full-time in the CICU and have training in specialty areas, including pediatric critical care, cardiology, and cardiac anesthesia. Their knowledge, together with sophisticated monitoring and support equipment, enables them to recognize problems quickly and respond effectively.

Our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is actively involved in training of cardiologists, intensivists, and anesthesiologists in pediatric cardiac critical care as part of the ACGME-approved Pediatric Cardiology and Critical Care programs. The staff in the CICU are recognized as experts in the field of pediatric cardiac critical care: They are involved in a many clinical research studies, and have authored many original articles, chapters, and textbooks.

The Boston Children’s advantage

  • Our 29-bed facility is one of the largest and most sophisticated intensive care units in the country solely dedicated to cardiac care of children.
  • We offer experience and expertise gained from treating more than 1,300 patients admitted to our unit each year.
  • We routinely care for some of the most complex cases in the world.
  • We care for children with non-surgical conditions such as heart failure and myocarditis, and children with heart disease undergoing non-cardiac surgery.
  • We also treat older patients and adults who have developed complications or need further procedures as a result of long-standing or previously treated congenital heart disease.

Our innovative approach

Probably the most significant change in the treatment of children with congenital heart disease over the past two decades has been the emphasis on early surgical intervention to repair defects in newborns and infants.

The underlying premise is that early intervention to correct cyanosis, volume, or pressure loads on the myocardium and treat pulmonary hypertension will enhance the heat or the child's subsequent growth and development. One of the reasons this approach has been so successful is the infrastructure in place at Boston Children's Hospital to manage our patients.

This includes:

  • improvements in diagnosis procedures and imaging of the heart
  • improved monitoring techniques to closely titrate changes in management
  • improvements in surgical techniques and cardiopulmonary bypass
  • improvements in the management available in the CICU