Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: NICU
The birth of a baby is an exciting and joyful time, but sometimes unexpected and serious complications arise during pregnancy or after birth that require specialized care.
Our 53-bed NICU is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. We're located on the 7th floor of the Battle Building and provide the latest diagnostics and treatment options for premature babies and sick infants.
As part of UVA Children’s Hospital, the NICU gives you access to hundreds of specialists, advanced technology and current research around the clock, as well as compassionate and family-centered care.
Neonatology at UVA
Our NICU is the region’s most advanced neonatal intensive care unit and serves as a referral center for premature and sick newborns.
Years of experience and ongoing training prepare us to stabilize newborns with life-threatening conditions, treat infections and breathing problems, care for premature infants and coordinate care of infants with surgical or other complex needs.
NICU Care Team
Our neonatology care team includes:
- Neonatologists (pediatricians with additional training and certification in newborn intensive care)
- Neonatal nurse practitioners (nurses with additional training and licenses in newborn intensive care)
- Nurses specifically trained in neonatal care
- Respiratory therapists
- Occupational and physical therapists
- Infant speech and language pathologists
- Infant educators
- Breastfeeding consultants
- Social workers and chaplains
- Child life specialist to help families cope with the stresses of hospitalization
Our comprehensive services for infants and families includes the following:
- Pediatric heart surgery for congenital heart disease
- Newborn Emergency Transport System (NETS) staffed with medics, nurses and respiratory therapists that provides ground or air transport from other medical facilities
- Diagnostic capabilities for complex medical problems and genetic disorders
- Attention to nutritional needs to promote healing and growing
- Heart, surgery, neurology, urology and other specialists
- Respiratory therapists and the most advanced ventilators available for neonates
- Social services for emotional support and other assistance (lodging, insurance, etc.)
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
We offer ECMO to support heart and lung function in infants with cardiorespiratory failure. Babies showing no improvement on a respiratory ventilator may benefit from the procedure, which works much like a heart-lung bypass machine. During the procedure, the baby’s blood is filtered through the ECMO machine, which puts oxygen into the blood and returns it to the body. This oxygenated blood is pumped by the heart into the body’s other organs and tissues.
Newborn Emergency Transport System (NETS)
As home to the region's most advanced neonatal intensive care unit, we often get referrals of premature or critically ill infants who were born at other hospitals throughout Virginia, West Virginia and other states. Our Newborn Emergency Transport System (NETS), staffed with medics, nurses and respiratory therapists, transports these tiny patients by ground or air to UVA for specialized care in the NICU.
Discovering New Treatments for Infants
We are leaders in driving changes to neonatal care. With informed parental consent, we have opportunities for participation in scientific trials aimed at helping the littlest and most at-risk patients. Our dedication to improving care for premature and critically ill newborns helps give our patients the best outcomes possible.
Parenting in the NICU
When a baby is born prematurely or with serious medical complications, parents often feel helpless, overwhelmed, and anxious. At UVA, parents are a valuable member of their baby's health care team and participate in the medical rounds each day in the NICU. We're here to help you support and care for your child. Learn some tips about taking care of your NICU baby.
Care doesn't stop once your baby leaves the NICU. We continue with assessments and checking your baby's progress as they transition into life at home. Learn more about our Neonatal Follow-up Clinic.