Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU)

Our Expertise

The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Cardio Thoracic Intensive Care Unit is a 24-bed Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU), located in the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion, is the center of the Heart Institute, incorporating the divisions of Pediatric Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Department of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine. It is staffed by pediatric intensivists, and is the largest unit for pediatric cardiac critical care patients in Southern California. We admit approximately 900 patients per year, including those with the most complex diseases of the heart and lung.

Special Facility

Our new state-of-the art facility which opened in 2011, is equipped with positive-pressure and HEPA-filtered private rooms designed specifically for transplant patients.

The CTICU combines the services of:

As a result, this specialized care unit reaches out to critically ill children with an effective mix of medical disciplines, including nursing, respiratory care, cardiology, cardiac surgery, anesthesiology and critical care.

Comprehensive Care

Pediatric cardiac registered nurses (RN), respiratory care practitioners (RCP), cardiac intensivists, and nurse practitioners (NP) provide the “front-line” care in the CTICU by their continuous presence and service to the children and families. Daily multidisciplinary care rounds occur with the collaborative input from each of these disciplines. The RCP’s are trained and experienced at providing the specialized respiratory needs of children with heart disease. There is ongoing teaching and education of advanced cardiac care management throughout the year provided by our NPs, CTICU Education Managers, and senior nursing staff.

In addition, the CTICU staff possess particular expertise in the use of advanced technologies such as inhaled nitric oxide, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and ventricular assist devices. We also have the support of pharmacy, clinical nutrition, social work and child life specialists to ensure complete care of our patients and families.

Clinical Trials and Research

The CTICU is dedicated to research to improve the care of our patients. We currently have several studies in progress to gather the best evidence to share with the cardiac critical care world. Some studies include:

  • Use of near infrared spectroscopy
  • Implementation of feeding protocols for neonates with congenital heart defects
  • Readiness for extubation and work of breathing trials
  • Use of brain natriuretic peptide as a marker for postoperative heart failure.

What to Expect During Your First Visit

We are about Family Centered Care, and parents and families can expect to participate in our daily rounds that take place at the patient’s bedside. We have an amazing nursing, respiratory care, and support staff including pharmacy, social work, nutrition, and child life specialists, to ensure that each patient receives the best individualized care. 

Commonly Treated Disorders

  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Acquired Heart Disease
  • Other Cardiorespiratory Disorders