Pediatric Critical Care
UCLA Health excellence in pediatric critical care medicine
At UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, our pediatric critical care team is dedicated to caring for critically ill children of all ages. We deliver lifesaving treatments and compassionate care. When you come to us, you’ll find:
Family-centered approach: UCLA Health pediatric specialists focus on your child’s health and the well-being of your family. That’s why we offer private rooms where parents can stay with their children. Child Life Specialists offer a wide array of services designed to help your child feel more comfortable.
Specialized care: Our pediatric critical care unit (PICU) team includes specialists in pediatric surgery, otolaryngology, organ transplantation and trauma. At the pediatric cardiothoracic intensive care unit (PCTICU), heart and lung experts care for infants and children with the full spectrum of cardiac disease.
Recognized expertise: UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital is one of only a few hospitals in the nation recognized as a Center of Excellence for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO is a type of advanced life support for children with life-threatening heart and lung problems. This high level of life support is only available at a handful of neonatal centers in the United States.
Experienced transport team: Our neonatal and pediatric transport team safely transports more than 600 children each year. Respiratory care specialists, critical care nurses and pediatric physicians care for patients in our ground ambulances, helicopter and plane. We work together to get children the care they need as quickly as possible.
Delivering the highest level of care and the latest treatments, our team is dedicated to meeting the needs of your child. Our services include:
Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)
Backed by the extensive resources of UCLA Health, our PICU team delivers comprehensive, compassionate care. We use sophisticated equipment and unparalleled expertise to provide lifesaving treatments to babies and children of all ages. Our specialists rally around you and your family, offering guidance, individualized support and expert care.
Cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU)
As one of the top cardiothoracic intensive care units in the nation, the UCLA Health CTICU team has extensive experience caring for young patients with heart conditions. Our team includes experts in cardiology as well as social workers and Child Life Specialists.
Physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists use state-of-the-art equipment and work as a team to deliver the highest level of care. Whether your child is recovering from heart surgery, recently had a transplant or has complex cardiac issues, they’re in expert hands. We are nationally recognized for excellence in advanced life support for children with serious heart and lung conditions, and we’re skilled at delivering advanced treatments and support for the whole family.
Compassionate care from Child Life Specialists
Our team includes experienced Child Life Specialists who support children in the PICU and CTICU. As an integral part of the care team, certified Child Life Specialists focus on your child’s emotional well-being as well as the emotional needs of siblings and family members.
Skilled Child Life Specialists explain medical procedures, diagnoses and treatments in an age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate way. They ease concerns and fears, offer support and reassurance and guide families through difficult conversations. Above all, Child Life Specialists are by your side to make your child’s stay with us more comfortable.
Leading-edge transport services
When every minute counts, UCLA Health experts help young patients get the care they need. Our experienced team transports children quickly and safely to UCLA Health pediatric specialty centers.
Our transfer fleet includes proprietary ambulances that are customized for neonatal-pediatric patients, allowing us to provide leading-edge patient care during transport. When time or distance is an issue, we activate our helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, provided by REACH Medical Services. Both are fully equipped, featuring the latest medical and flight-safety technology.
Critical care treatments we offer
Our outstanding team customizes care plans for your child. We have experience treating illnesses, diseases and conditions that require advanced care. Rest assured, your child receives the latest treatments using sophisticated technology and unmatched expertise. We specialize in:
World-class heart and lung care
UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital has been recognized as an ECMO Center of Excellence by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). ECMO is a type of advanced life support. It takes over the function of the heart and lungs when the organs don’t work properly.
We may use an ECMO machine to allow time for the heart and lungs to recover from surgery or infection or while a child waits for a heart transplant. ECMO can also be used as a bridge to a ventricular assist device (VAD). A VAD partially or completely does the work of a failing heart.
UCLA Health pediatric critical care specialists have extensive experience using ECMO and VAD to treat babies and children with a range of conditions. Established in 1998, our program has successfully treated newborns with pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs), severe pneumonia and the full spectrum of respiratory problems.
Our team includes physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists who are specially trained to care for critically ill children. We work closely with social workers, Child Life Specialists and therapists to deliver expert, family-centered care.