Johns Hopkins All Children's Heart Institute

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit

We provide advanced, specialized care for patients of all ages, both before and after heart surgery. 

Children with congenital heart defects, cardiovascular disorders or those recovering from heart surgery or transplant receive care in our cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). Our multidisciplinary team includes cardiologists, heart surgeons, cardiac critical care physicians, respiratory therapists and other pediatric experts to meet your child’s individual needs. The 22-bed CVICU is outfitted with pediatric equipment to provide personalized, expert care for our patients. 

We treat a range of cardiovascular conditions in the CVICU including: 

  • Congenital heart defects 
  • Arrhythmias, including supraventricular tachycardia 
  • Chest pain  
  • Heart failure  
  • Myocarditis  
  • Pericarditis  
  • Pulmonary hypertension  
  • Respiratory distress/failure 

We provide cardiac extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the CVICU as needed. ECMO is a form of heart-lung bypass that promotes adequate oxygen delivery to the tissues, while allowing the heart and lungs to rest. ECMO may be used for patients who are recovering from a severe or critical cardiac illness. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is designated as a Center of Excellence in Mechanical Circulatory Support by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). 

What to Expect 

Families play an important role in our patients’ care, and we work to ensure you are directly involved in your child’s care throughout the process. 

Every morning our team will complete morning rounds at the bedside and discuss your child’s condition and any changes to the care plan. If you are not available, your doctor or nurse practitioner will reach you by phone to update you and answer your questions. All of our patient rooms in the CVICU are private rooms with space for parents to stay overnight. 

Family meetings may be scheduled outside of “morning rounds” to discuss your child’s progress and are periodically scheduled with other specialists who may be involved in your child’s care. 

Access for Parents and Family Members 

If you are a parent or guardian of a patient in the CVICU, you can be with your child any time of the day or night. You will receive a special badge so you have 24-hour access. 

All visitors must get a daily visitor pass from the Information Desk in the main hospital lobby, or at the Visitors Desk in the Outpatient Care Center (OCC). Visitors to any of our intensive care units will need to complete a short health screening questionnaire, in order to help protect the health of our patients. There may be times when children younger than 10 years old may be unable to visit to help protect our patients. 

Learn more about our visitor guidelines. 

Patient and Family Support

We understand that having a child in the CVICU can be a difficult experience that impacts the whole family. We strive to provide resources to support you and your family during your child’s treatment.

For more information, including our Inpatient Family Guide, please visit the Patient and Family Support page.   

Meet Our Team

Meet the cardiac critical care specialists in our CVICU.

Contact Us

For more information about the CVICU, please call us.