Critical Care Services

The MUSC Children’s Health Critical Care team is a leader in delivering state-of-the-art care to critically ill and injured babies, children and adolescents in South Carolina. The interdisciplinary pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is an 11-bed, medical surgical unit staffed by board-certified intensivists, highly skilled and specially trained nurses, respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, dietitians, child life specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, case managers and social workers.

A child’s life-threatening illness or injury can be one of the most stressful challenges that families face. Our critical care team in the Pediatric ICU (Peds ICU) puts families at the center of treatment plans, making sure to include parents in the development of daily care plans for each child.

Services We Offer

  • Conventional mechanical ventilation: Our PICU technology supports children in need of breathing assistance through conventional mechanical ventilation, high-frequency mechanical ventilation, and non-invasive positive pressure ventilation
  • Inhaled nitric oxide: Inhalation of nitric oxide to treat hypoxic respiratory failure and restore oxygenation
  • Hemodynamic management, including PiCC02 monitoring: Measurement of blood pressure in the arteries, heart, and veins, including PiCCO2 monitoring
  • Ultrasound guided vascular access: Increased safety and precision for procedures through ultrasound guided vascular access
  • Pediatric extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO): Circulation of blood through a pump to provide external heart-lung bypass support
  • Continuous renal replacement therapies (CRRT): Dialysis treatment methods
  • Therapeutic blood or plasma exchange
  • Continuous video electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring: Continuous video monitoring of the electrical activity in the brain
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring

Critical Care Conditions We Treat

  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Liver failure
  • Liver transplantation
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple trauma
  • Pediatric burns
  • Pneumonia
  • Poisonings
  • Post-surgical procedures (general, orthopedic, neurosurgical, ENT, craniofacial, et al)
  • Renal failure
  • Respiratory distress and failure
  • Sepsis
  • Status asthmaticus
  • Status epilepticus
  • Traumatic brain injury

More Details About the Pediatric Critical Care Unit

Opened in 1987, our PICU advanced the level of critical care delivery in the state by focusing on quality and safety and implementing emerging technologies in pediatric care. It is the only Level 1 PICU in the Lowcountry region as defined by the “Guidelines and Levels of Care for Pediatric Intensive Care Units” published in the Critical Care Medicine Journal. The Children's Hospital ICU is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by an in-house critical care doctor.

Our PICU patients have access to a full array of MUSC pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists to ensure comprehensive and compassionate care. MUSC was the first South Carolina children’s hospital to receive the Level I Trauma Center designation by the American College of Surgeons, and the PICU receives many transfers from surrounding areas.

The PICU and our Intermediate Care Unit support programs unique to South Carolina, including MUSC’s pediatric solid organ transplant program and the pediatric burn program. Our pediatric critical care physicians offer lifesaving therapies such as ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), high frequency oscillatory ventilation, non-invasive respiratory support, continuous renal replacement therapy, and therapeutic plasma exchange.

MUSC’s experienced MEDUCARE Pediatric Flight Team is available 24 hours a day to transport children to the PICU by helicopter, airplane, or ambulance from all over the state.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine has an expanding telemedicine program with our referral institutions. Emergency department and inpatient physicians from several Lowcountry hospitals can call in to request a telemedicine consultation by MUSC pediatric intensivists. These video links provide a valuable opportunity to see the patient, meet the family, and offer medical advice to the referral team.

Our intensive care doctors also care for children who need continuous monitoring and specialized care in our 10-bed pediatric intermediate care unit. Each private room in this unit has a bathroom and sleeping area for families.

Our Care Team