The 30-bed Acute Cardiac Unit of Rady Children’s Heart Institute provides cardiac inpatient care for people of all ages (from newborns to adults) with congenital or acquired heart disease. It is a separate physical space within the Hospital solely devoted to all levels of inpatient cardiac care, from admission to discharge, with a focus on family-centered care.

In order to meet the needs of all patients, the 30-bed Acute Cardiac Unit consists of two components: A cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) and a cardiac step-down unit (CSU). Staffed by critical care cardiac physicians and nurses, 24 hours a day, the CVICU cares for cardiology and cardiovascular surgery patients when they are most critically ill. As patients recover, they progress to the CSU and on to discharge. Many patients are admitted to the CVICU within hours of being born. The unit also cares for all heart failure, transplant and patients on assist devices.

All 30 beds in the Acute Cardiac Unit are capable of functioning as a CVICU-level bed or CSU bed, assuring an appropriate level of care based on the needs of the patient. To ensure continuity of care, the team that cares for patients throughout their procedures continues to care for them in the unit afterwards. And since a consistent team cares for all cardiac patients admitted to the unit, patients who return to the Hospital for subsequent procedures will recognize the doctors and nurses.

A full range of cardiac services are provided, including

  • Patient monitoring
  • Lab testing
  • Radiology exams
  • Ventilation, including ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), an advanced technology that circulates blood so that oxygen can be supplied to the body

Patients also receive dietary services, social services and child life services.

The state-of-the-art unit was created to care for the growing number of cardiac patients requiring specialized services and advanced technology. Our renowned Cardiovascular Surgery team performs about 500 operations each year.

For information on all of our Critical Care services, click here.