Children’s Hospital New Orleans advances pediatric heart care with opening of new, expanded Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

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The 35,000 square foot, 28-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital New Orleans supports the growth of specialized pediatric heart care for the state of Louisiana and the Gulf South, as part of Children’s $300 million campus expansion effort.

NEW ORLEANS – On January 22, Children’s Hospital New Orleans opened its new Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), expanding specialized pediatric cardiology services for the region. The new CICU at Children’s Hospital contains 28 large, private rooms designed to care for patients with any cardiac medical or surgical condition requiring specialized care from newborns to adulthood.

“When considering a congenital heart program, choosing a program with a low Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) mortality rate is an important component. However, equally as important is ensuring that your child receives excellent postoperative care in the CICU following surgery,” said Tom Kimball, MD, Co-Director of the Heart Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

The same 24/7 in-hospital coverage by dedicated pediatric cardiac intensivists and the same collaborative approach to patient care continues; however, the new unit provides added comfort, sleeping space, and private bathrooms for families combined with state-of-the-art equipment and technology that embrace and evolve the unit’s family-centered approach to care.

“Over the last 10 years, care for congenital heart patients has continued to evolve with a shift to units being led by pediatric cardiac intensivist, providing 24/7 in-house coverage with an emphasis on multidisciplinary, family-centered care,” said Kurt Piggott, MD, Division Head, Cardiac Intensive Care at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Our CICU team has now grown to 6 intensivists, 4 NPs, a dedicated pharmacist, and numerous nursing and allied health professionals.”

“It takes a village to care for our congenital heart patients, and we now have an environment that best supports our village in providing best in class care,” said Matt Schaefer, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

The new CICU also provides spacious rooms that cater to larger adult patients, is equipped for procedures to be done at the bedside and is designed to easily accommodate Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment and assist devices. In addition, the unit provides space to help patients and families transition from critical care to readiness for discharge.

“The CICU is the heart of our Heart Center,” says Tim Pettitt, MD, Surgical Director, Cardiovascular Surgery at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “The CICU consolidates the care of all patients with heart disease, and promotes an environment of continuous learning, collaboration and excellence.”

The Children’s Hospital New Orleans Heart Center has experienced significant growth in recent months, including the recruitment of Thomas Kimball, MD, who joined Children’s Hospital as Chief of Cardiology in 2019. Kimball joined Children’s from the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute, where he served as Medical Director of their program which is consistently ranked in the top five pediatric heart programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

“The growth of our Heart Center team has positioned Children’s Hospital New Orleans to expand services for children and families across the state of Louisiana and the Gulf South” says John R. Nickens IV, President and Chief Executive Officer at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “The physical transformation of our Heart Center including the new CICU, and soon to be new OR’s, cath labs and cardiology clinic has been paralleled with the acquisition of new talent and expertise, commitment to teamwork, and a number one focus on quality and safety.”

Children’s Hospital has recently recruited additional pediatric heart specialists including a perfusionist, two cardiac intensivists and a heart failure specialist from some of the nation’s top children’s hospitals to ensure children in Louisiana have access to specialized heart care within the state.

“Despite the spectacular physical attributes of the new CICU, it is only as good as the healthcare providers who staff it,” Pettitt said. “And we have built a team at Children’s Hospital that rivals the best pediatric programs in the country.”

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About Children’s Hospital New Orleans

Children’s Hospital New Orleans is a 229-bed, non-profit academic pediatric medical center that offers comprehensive healthcare services, including over 40 pediatric specialties, delivered just for children. With more than 400 physicians trained in more than 40 pediatric subspecialties, Children’s offers a comprehensive array of pediatric healthcare services in Louisiana and the Gulf South. In addition to its main campus located in New Orleans, the hospital operates a network of specialty clinics across Louisiana and in Southern Mississippi, including in Covington, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette. Children’s Hospital offers primary care services at 15 convenient locations throughout Southeast Louisiana and remotely via its Virtual Care app. Children’s Hospital is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit hospital system which also includes New Orleans East Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center New Orleans and West Jefferson Medical Center. Learn more at chnola.org.



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