Neonatal Neurocritical Care Unit

Newborns and babies with neurological problems have needs that differ from those of older children. The Division of Newborn Medicine is a referral center for the tri-state area and works closely with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Neonatal Neurocritical Care Unit (NICU) and the NICU at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital to offer newborns research-based, high-quality care. 

Newborns’ bodies are still adjusting to the world, and birth defects or trauma can cause a unique set of challenges. The Brain Care Institute has a multidisciplinary team dedicated to newborns with neurologic issues — one of only three of its kind in the country.

At our Neonatal Neurocritical Care Unit, we treat conditions such as:

  • Cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Congenital brain malformations
  • Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hypotonia
  • Interventricular hemorrhages
  • Intracranial calcifications
  • Intracranial hemorrhages
  • Meningitis and other brain infections
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Microcephaly
  • Neonatal stroke
  • Spina bifida

Our Neonatal Neurocritical Care Team

We collaborate with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the care of your baby. Our staff includes two neurologists who specialize in treating newborns with neurologic conditions. Neurologists are available 24/7 to oversee the day-to-day aspects of the NICU. They also work closely with our Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center to diagnose and treat patients prior to birth. The entire program is supported by:

Our multidisciplinary rounding structure emphasizes the involvement of family members, who are encouraged to join in daily rounds with nutritionists, pharmacists, physicians and other professionals.

Diagnostic Testing for NICU Patients

Our Pediatric Radiology Department has dedicated timeslots for imaging of infants in the NICU. Additional times are available as needed. 

Head ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs are interpreted on a daily basis by specialized neuroradiologists, and then reviewed again in weekly Neuroradiology Rounds with our chief of Pediatric Radiology, who specializes in neonatal neuroimaging. 

Electroencephalograms (EEGs) with video capability are available around the clock, usually within 30 minutes during daytime hours and within one hour during evening hours, and are read in real time by the neurologist.

In addition to the most sophisticated MRIs available for newborns, other specialized technologies we will be adding to our Neonatal Neurocritical Care Unit include:

  • Amplitude-integrated EEGs
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)
  • Home testing

Additional Information

Through our collaboration with the Children's Home of Pittsburgh and Lemieux Family Center, families of NICU patients have access to  support services through a program design specifically for infants.