Texas Children’s Hospital opens first-of-its-kind pediatric Heart Failure Intensive Care Unit

July 2015

Recently, Texas Children’s Heart Center and the section of Critical Care Medicine cut the ribbon on a new, first-of-its-kind pediatric Heart Failure Intensive Care Unit. This highly specialized 12-bed unit focuses on the treatment of children with heart failure, as well as those requiring intensive care before and after heart transplant.

“We are thrilled to be the first in the nation to offer this highly-specialized level of pediatric critical care,” said Dr. Paul Checchia, medical director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics-critical care and cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Patient outcomes will only continue to improve as we treat their unique needs in this new setting.”

Checchia and Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of critical care medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics-critical care at Baylor, oversee the unit. Drs. Antonio Cabrera and Jack Price, associate professors of pediatrics-cardiology and critical care at Baylor serve as associate medical directors of the unit.

The heart failure and cardiac transplantation programs at Texas Children’s Heart Center are among the largest and most successful programs in the world. More than 650 cardiomyopathy patients are cared for each year by a team of physicians, nurse coordinators and administrative personnel. When a transplant is not immediately available, a variety of circulatory support devices are used as a bridge to transplantation. Currently, Texas Children’s Heart Center is able to offer a wide range of mechanical circulatory support devices, as well as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), to children whose hearts are failing: Maquet Rotaflow, Cardiac Assist Tandem Heart, Thoratec Paracorporeal VAD (ventricular assist device), Thoratec HeartMate II, Berlin Heart EXCOR, Heartware LVAD and Syncardia Total Artificial Heart.

In 2014, Texas Children’s was also named the first Pediatric Heart Failure Institute in Texas by BATTELLE Healthcare Colloquium.