Neonatal Neurocritical Care
Our Neurocritical Care program is the first service of its kind for
pediatrics in the country. A unique feature is that the neuro-ICU
attending physicians are not consulting physicians, rather, they become
the child’s physician of record, taking care of all the child’s needs and
treating the whole patient.
We have 12 critical care physicians, of whom four are neuro-ICU
attendings. All four have research grants on brain injuries. Research
projects include how infections can alter brain development in the ICU,
and what injuries are more common at different times of the day.
The goal of our program is to develop critical care protocols in order
to ensure the entire team is on the same page throughout the
continuum of care. This prevents sporadic treatment and helps identify
when treatment needs to be changed. Our computerized provider order
entry system helps systematize Children’s Hospital care and provides
In the NICU, hypothermia is now standard of care for newborns
with birth asphyxia, neonatal encephalopathy, and/or
Children’s is one of only three hospitals nationwide with a
neuro-focused Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Two child neurologists
are dedicated to the NICU, working daily in the NICU, and are
Neuroradiology rounds meet once a week with Ashok Panigrahy, MD,
a leading voice in neonatal neuroimaging.
We have seven pediatric neuroradiologists on staff.
Ashok Panigrahy, MD, chief, Department of Pediatric Radiology,
developed the first neonatal head coil, now approved by the Food and
Drug Administration, for use in neonatal magnetic resonance imaging.
These coils provide fast, high-resolution imaging for babies. Dr. Panigrahy
is collaborating with researchers to optimize the neonatal head coil.
In a strong research collaboration with colleagues in Radiology at
UPMC Presbyterian, Dr. Panigrahy modified the technique of sodium
MRI in children and was the first to offer this type of imaging to the
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC offers cutting-edge imaging
modalities like MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, and sodium
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is a member of the Pediatric
Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC). Dr. Ian Pollack sits on the consortium’s
Children’s Hospital is also a founding member of the Children’s
Oncology Group (COG).
The Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board meets regularly to individualize
each patient’s treatment, so as to minimize late effects but
maximize the chance of cure.
Two dedicated Neuro-Oncology clinics are held per week, and the
program works with families to schedule all other visits and MRI scans
to occur on the same day if possible.
Cutting-edge, innovative treatment options, some pioneered at
Children’s, are available, as is a vaccine study for patients with gliomas.