Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit

The CVICU, established at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in 2001, is a 20-bed dedicated unit that provides care for patients with congenital and acquired heart disease from the newborn period through adulthood.  The unit provides an interdisciplinary environment that includes cardiac intensivists, surgeons, cardiologists, advanced practice providers, nurses and respiratory therapists. Approximately 1000 patients are admitted to the CVICU per year, with 50-60% of admissions for post-operative care. Patients range from premature and low birth-weight infants through older adult survivors of congenital heart disease. Patient complexity and acuity are amongst the highest in the nation.  As part the largest heart failure/transplant center on the west coast, the CVICU admits patients with end-stage heart failure, many of who go on to need mechanical circulatory support and/or transplantation. An expansion to LPCH is currently being constructed and is expected to be completed in late 2017, at which time the CVICU will expand to 36 beds and include a dedicated heart failure/transplant unit. 

CVICU Leader

The CVICU is directed by Dr. Catherine Krawczeski, a national leader in cardiac intensive care. There are two associate medical directors: Dr. Vamsi Yarlagadda, Associate Medical Director for Clinical Services, and Dr. Andrew Shin, Associate Medical Director for Quality and Clinical Effectiveness. Together they provide clinical and administrative leadership to the CVICU, ensuring state-of-the-art care and working to optimize outcomes. The current faculty consists of 12 cardiac intensivists, all with advanced training in cardiac intensive care, six of whom with training in both Pediatric Cardiology and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. In addition to the medical directors, faculty members include Drs. Ritu Asija, David Axelrod, Mackenzie Ford, David Kwiatkowski, Sushma Reddy, Stephen Roth, Kathleen Ryan, Loren Sacks and Gail Wright. 

Academics and Research

The academic interests of the CVICU faculty are diverse and include quality improvement, cardiorenal physiology, care of single ventricle patients, respiratory failure in patients undergoing unifocalization surgery, clinical trials of therapies to improve postoperative outcomes, medical education, and basic science research exploring right ventricular failure. Our research infrastructure is well supported by the Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Health Research Institute at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Consult Service Program

In July of 2015, the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit physicians formed the “CV3 Consult Service.” Under the medical direction of Dr. David Axelrod, the CV3 service serves as the cardiology consult team for any child requiring intensive care. The team has focused on improvements in peri-operative care of neonates in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) while also providing critical care services to patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the Emergency Department. In the future, Dr. Axelrod and the CV3 team will concentrate efforts on improving the continuity of care for critically ill children with cardiac disease and improving the quality of care within the Heart Center. The ongoing CVICU collaboration with the NICU and PICU continues to strengthen the clinical and educational opportunities for providers and trainees.