If your child has a serious heart condition that requires intensive care, we understand how stressful it can be for your family. At the St. Louis Children’s and Washington University Heart Center, we offer the highest level of heart care for children in the region.
We adapt our care to each patient’s individual needs, from intensive care for critical patients to transitional care to prepare them to go home. In “the heart” of the Inpatient Heart Center, our team is dedicated to your child’s recovery.
Intensive Cardiac Care for Children: Why Choose St. Louis Children’s Hospital?
When your child needs treatment for a critical heart condition, you can count on our renowned team for expert, compassionate care. The intensive care unit (ICU) in our Inpatient Heart Center provides:
- Dedicated pediatric cardiac ICU, separate from the general ICU
- Dedicated intensivists (critical care doctors) and advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) with advanced specialized training in pediatric and cardiac critical care
- Some of the highest success rates and lowest complication rates following heart surgery
- The most experienced care from decades of caring for high-risk patients
- Family-centered care, involving you in decisions about your child’s care and encouraging you to stay with your loved one
- Access to the newest advancements in treatment, through our participation in national clinical trials
Our Heart Care for Children in the Inpatient Heart Center
Our Interdisplinary Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team is a nationally recognized leader in critical care for newborns, infants and children with serious heart or lung conditions. We are developing new, lifesaving advances in diagnosis and treatment to give children even stronger outcomes.
Our critical care team includes the family as key partners in care. We structure care around your child’s needs and customized to each family. We also understand that not all families can be at Heart Center 24 hours a day so we will give every family options to meet your needs to keep you involved in your child’s care.
We are committed to providing continuity of care, where you can build trust and confidence with each member of our coordinated team. To meet these goals, we have:
- Developed a strong nursing and advanced practice provider infrastructure with the right experience, knowledge and skills
- Developed, built and grown our team expertise by recruiting additional talented doctors from across the world to research advances in heart care
- Only nephrologist (kidney specialist) in the region who is also trained in cardiac care to treat children with both heart and kidney conditions
Creating a flexible model of care has improved our patients’ satisfaction. It has also given us the capacity to provide the right level of care for each child based on changing needs throughout the hospital stay. This adaptive approach has also allowed us to care for more children with more critical and complex cases.
We focus on having the right team available to care for your child right in our unit, to minimize having to move your child. Our approach incorporates the latest technology with compassionate care to form a major cornerstone of the entire experience.
Transitional Care Unit: Exceptional Follow-Up Care
We offer personalized attention and follow-up care for all the children we treat. Children who come through the Inpatient Heart Center with extra complex conditions, however, benefit from an additional level of follow-up care.
The cardiologist and advanced practice providers who cared for your child in the CICU will support your family throughout your hospital stay. Your cardiologist will address your concerns, assist with home care decisions and provide a familiar face during your stay.
Specialized care teams help your child prepare for the transition home and provide ongoing follow-up care. Depending on your child’s individual needs for care, you may work with our follow-up teams for:
- High-risk infants
- Transplant patients
- Cardiology patients
- Patients with Life Sustaining Devices
Features of the Inpatient Heart Center
We invite you to take a virtual tour or visit us in person to meet with our specialists. The Inpatient Heart Center provides:
- Fully equipped operating suites designed especially for children (in the surgical unit)
- Cardiac critical care doctors on-site 24/7
- Advanced monitoring for critically ill children using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), pulse index continuous cardiac output (PiCCO) and indirect calorimetry to ensure adequate blood flow for better healing (only ICU in the region)
- Latest technology for patient monitoring using a high-resolution data acquisition system (T3), which helps the team better visualize your child’s progress to fine-tune treatment (only center in the region)
- Comprehensive anticoagulation (blood thinner) medication management using advanced testing to monitor blood clotting ability (only unit in the region, with our team’s development of nationally adopted protocols for patients with heart devices)
- Full-service ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to support heart and lung function as your child rests and recovers, as part of our cardiac support services
- Participation in the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) and Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology (PAC3), an international effort to improve care for heart patients.
Meet the Experts
The Inpatient Heart Center team is one of the most comprehensive and expert teams in the country. We have the:
- Largest diversity of specialists in The Heart Center
- Doctors, advanced practice providers, and nurses specifically trained in cardiology, advanced cardiac support treatment, and critical care
As part of our comprehensive care, our cardiology team collaborates closely with our cardiac surgeons, cardiac intensivists, anesthesiologists, your child’s bedside nurse and other care providers in daily rounds (bedside visits). The team seamlessly coordinates your child’s care during this critical time. Meet the team.