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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Opens the Region’s First Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for Young Heart Patients

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has opened an eight-bed cardiac intensive care unit with technologically advanced equipment for the highly specialized staff to meet the unique needs of heart patients.

“The development of the CICU is a natural progression for a hospital that accepts the toughest cases and performs the most demanding surgeries on some of the youngest patients,” said Ricardo Munoz, MD, director of the CICU. “By delivering more specialized care for our cardiac patients, they can get better faster.”

The Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Children’s will care for children who are recovering from cardiac surgery or who have a medical condition that compromises the heart. For a hospital where heart defects are repaired in children only a few months old; toddlers are transplant candidates; and children are sustained for weeks on mechanical heart pumps, Children’s new CICU provides the level of post-surgical medical care young cardiac patients need.

Children’s recruited Dr. Munoz from the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center to head the CICU. He trained in pediatric critical care and pediatric cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School.

The new cardiac intensive care unit affords physicians and staff the advantage of a space specially designed to care for critically-ill heart patients or those recovering from surgery. With access to the latest technology, doctors can operate on the spot and are able to isolate patients who have recently received heart transplants and are in need of immunosuppressive drugs. The CICU addresses the needs of the rising number of complex cases that Children’s treats.

Further, Children’s highly trained heart specialists, now centered in one unit, can focus their efforts more proficiently. Previously, cardiac patients were cared for in the hospital’s 23-bed general intensive care unit.

“There is a tangible advantage to a program like this – to get a group of dedicated people working together on the same problem from different angles,” Dr. Munoz said. “This unit and the team of specialized doctors, nurses and staff in the CICU will provide countless opportunities in the treatment of children in this region and beyond.”

Marc Lukasiak or Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016, or

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008