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Children who have a serious heart problem or are recovering from heart surgery need round-the-clock care from specialized experts. Atrium Health Levine Children’s is home to the region’s only pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit (CICU). We have the latest tools and technologies – many of which are specially designed for babies and kids – so your child can get the advanced heart care they need, close to home.

About our CICU

Our team uses the latest tools and compassionate care to support kids with heart problems and their families. Many of our patients come to our CICU because they are awaiting a heart transplant or other surgery. We often use medications and sometimes heart pumps to keep these kids’ hearts strong until their operation. And we do everything we can to keep kids and families as comfortable as possible.

Children will also come to our CICU to recover after their heart surgery. We might use tools like ventilators or heart/lung machines to help your child breathe as their heart heals. We’ll closely monitor them and do everything we can to get them home as soon as possible.

Advanced tools in the CICU

For children who need help breathing or whose heart and lungs need rest, we use advanced tools like:

  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). This machine can support your child’s heart and lungs while they wait for – or recover from – surgery. ECMO works like an artificial lung, putting oxygen in the blood so your child’s heart and lungs can rest. We’re the only hospital in Charlotte that offers ECMO.
  • Ventilators. A device to help children who can’t breathe efficiently while they recover from surgery. Our team has access to many types of advanced ventilators, so we can select the one that’s best for your child.
  • Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). This machine helps to do the job of the kidneys, which are sometimes affected if the heart is very sick.

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