## ## When Your Child Needs Heart Surgery
Following heart surgery, your child will recover in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). A dedicated CICU and support team helps ensure that they will be closely monitored by experts with specific training in this area. A designated intensivist, a doctor who specializes in critical care, in the pediatric CICU means there is always someone immediately available to care for your child during their recovery after surgery. The CICU should also be equipped with pediatric devices and monitors that ensure immediate help is always available, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO.
The size of a surgical program is crucial to ensuring your child receives ample coverage during and after surgery. More surgeons and specialized staff mean more expertise and more sub specialties and when surgeons collaborate, patients receive the best possible care. If your child undergoes a surgical procedure, they should also be supported by a full team that includes both dedicated perfusionists, health care professionals who operate a heart lung machine, and certified pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists. These skilled professionals help keep things running smoothly in the operating room and ensure your child’s well being throughout the experience.
Every child is different and may have multiple conditions that may make interventions complex. The large Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Database rates every kind of congenital heart procedure on a difficulty scale of one to five, called STAT levels. Participating in this database allows individual hospitals to compare their outcomes with national data.