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Pediatric Critical Care

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Our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) cares for infants, kids, and teenagers with serious illnesses and injuries or who have had complex surgery — including heart procedures and organ transplants.

Our 17-bed PICU admits about 1,000 children each year. We're one of the Southeast's top referral centers for pediatric trauma, cardiac, and critical care. We also work closely with our Emergency Department — one of five level-one trauma centers in Virginia.

Why You Should Choose UVA Health Children's

We treat patients with a wide range of serious medical problems, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Kidney failure
  • Poisoning
  • Breathing or lung problems

Complex Cases: Seriously Ill Children

Our PICU offers state-of-the-art equipment and the latest therapies to support children with organ failure.

Services available include:

  • High-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) helps your child breathe by sending small, rapid puffs of air into the lungs. It's safer for small lungs than high-pressure, conventional ventilation methods.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) provides life support for children whose heart and lungs aren't functioning normally. A heart-lung machine is used to add oxygen to the blood and circulate it throughout the body.
  • Extracorporeal renal replacement therapy takes over kidney function in children with severe injuries to the kidneys or kidney disease.
  • Inhaled nitric oxide treats respiratory problems like pulmonary hypertension. A breathing machine provides nitric oxide, causing blood vessels in the lungs to dilate and hold oxygen that circulates throughout the body. 

A Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Your child’s critical care team includes:

  • Doctors
  • Advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) 
  • Nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Nutritionists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapists

Care for complex medical conditions and serious injuries requires collaboration among experts from an array of disciplines, including:

  • Heart and vascular
  • Orthopedic
  • ENT
  • Urology
  • Transplant
  • Surgery

Stay With Your Child

When your child is in the PICU, stay close by. We have 17 private rooms with sleeping space for parents who want to stay overnight with their children.

While your child is hospitalized, temporary lodging at a small cost is available through the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville. We also offer additional local lodging options.