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Critical Care Pediatrics

A little boy sleeps in his hospital bed with a teddy bear wearing bandages.

If your child has a life-threatening acute illness or organ failure, the pediatric intensive care team goes into action. The team works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of the Heinrich A. Werner, MD, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine to treat and monitor critically ill children (newborn to 18 years). The experienced staff can care for a range of problems: burns, trauma injuries, cardiovascular surgery and neurosurgery, just to name a few.

The care of children requires a multidisciplinary team that includes nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, a nutritionist, social workers, nurse practitioners and pediatric intensivists working with various subspecialists based on the child's condition.

Kentucky Children's Hospital's pediatric intensivists practice critical care medicine in the PICU and the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), which is a growing portion of the PICU. A four-bed dedicated CICU opened adjacent to the PICU in December 2018. In the CICU, intensivists provide:

  • Expertise in the medical management of seriously ill pediatric cardiac patients, including during the critical recovery phase following cardiac surgery.
  • Additional support for the management of pain and sedation for non-surgical procedures.

The CICU team provides all aspects of care for patients with congenital heart disease and rhythm disturbances. Patients with congenital heart disease are cared for by a multidisciplinary team that consists of cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons, cardiologists, CICU physicians and a pediatric electrophysiologist.

As staunch advocates for children, PICU physicians are committed to providing the best possible healing environment for these special patients while optimizing the chances for positive outcomes.

The critical care team in the PICU specializes in stabilizing critically ill children after surgery or serious injury and illness so they can get back to the important work of healing. Once their condition is stable, the patients return to the care of their primary care team.

Kentucky Children's Hospital Neonatal/Pediatric Transport Team
  • Specialties & Services


    • Acute respiratory failure
    • Multi-system organ failure
    • Multi-system trauma
    • Neurological trauma and failure
    • Poisoning
    • Post-operative management
    • Sepsis syndrome


    Children require special care. That's why we've equipped our PICU with state-of-the-art technology made just for the care of critically ill children who have a life-threatening acute illness, organ failure, or traumatic injury that requires artificial life support. Our PICU is fully equipped for full life-support and monitoring.

    Our team also provides a sedation service for children who need special care during a painful or stressful procedure. If your child is scheduled for an appointment with our Sedation Clinic, we've made a Parent's Guide to Surgery that has all the information you'll need before and after your child's procedure.