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Cardiac Intensive Care

A cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) provides the highest level of care for critically ill patients with serious heart conditions. At the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center, our cardiac ICU teams are ready 24/7. Our doctors, surgeons and nurses use the latest technology for dedicated care with a compassionate touch.

Cardiac Critical Care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Our CICU opened in 1969, one of the first in the country. Since then, we have been at the forefront of exceptional care for life-threatening conditions affecting the heart, lungs and other organs. You can expect:

  • Experts in critical care for every heart condition: Our teams include cardiac nurses, cardiac intensivists, and other providers specially trained in cardiac and critical care. Our nurses are the most experienced in the hospital, and our intensivists are critical care doctors who specialize in cardiology. Our hospital’s Level I STEMI Care Center designation means that we provide immediate access to critical care specialists including interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and heart failure specialists. We help save lives by stabilizing people who are experiencing heart attacks and cardiogenic shock.
  • Advanced, multidisciplinary treatment: We provide 24/7 monitoring and treatment with the most advanced therapies for critically ill people with heart disease. Our CICUs offer comprehensive care for people who have life-threatening heart conditions along with any other severe condition.
  • Nationally recognized expertise: Doctors from throughout the St. Louis region and surrounding states transfer their patients to us because we provide the most advanced cardiac critical care. Our heart attack and heart transplant survival rates exceed the national averages. We are nationally known for our expertise in interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiac surgery and adult congenital heart disease.

Treatment in Our Cardiac Critical Care Units

You might need cardiac intensive care if you:

  • Are having or just had heart surgery, heart transplant or a minimally invasive heart procedure
  • Came to the emergency department or trauma center with a heart condition requiring emergency care
  • Transferred from another hospital to receive advanced critical care

At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, we offer specialized care across these cardiac ICUs:

  • Cardiac ICU: With 15 beds, this CICU cares for people who have critical illness due to heart disease or who require intensive care while preparing for surgery or a procedure. We provide expert care for people recovering from a heart attack or other serious cardiac event.
  • Cardiothoracic ICU: Our center has 29 dedicated beds for people recovering from cardiothoracic (heart and lung) surgery. Find out more about our cardiac surgery options.
  • Ventricular assist device (VAD) ICU: We have a dedicated, six-bed unit for people who are receiving a VAD to treat advanced heart failure. Learn more about heart failure treatment at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Conditions We Treat in Cardiac Critical Care

Our expert CICU teams treat all types of heart emergencies. Some of the conditions we often see include: 

Visitors in Our Cardiac Critical Care Units

When your loved one is in one of our cardiac ICUs, our top priority is to ensure that they get plenty of rest. Spending time with them is also important in their recovery and healing process.

Our CICU teams work with you to decide on the best way to spend time with your loved one. In general, our visitor guidelines are:

  • Family and close friends can visit any time, 24/7, unless your loved one’s doctor changes their visiting hours for health reasons.
  • Two people may visit at a time.
  • Children under age 12 are not permitted in our cardiac ICUs for their own safety.

For information about nearby lodging, restaurants and helpful services, see our information for patients and visitors.

Our Cardiac Critical Care Team

Our CICU providers have advanced, specialized training in cardiac care and critical care to take care of the sickest patients. Our team includes: 

  • cardiac intensivists who provide specialized, 24/7 cardiac and critical care
  • cardiac ICU nurses with advanced training and experience in cardiology and critical care
  • ICU nurse practitioners with training in critical care for acute conditions
  • respiratory therapists who provide critical care for people with severe heart and lung conditions

Physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, social workers and pastoral care staff provide a full continuum of care.

Contact Us

To make an appointment with a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 314-362-1291.