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Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

little boy who is pediatric neurosurgery patient kissing infant sibling on the head
little boy who is pediatric neurosurgery patient kissing infant sibling on the head

Why choose Ochsner Health for pediatric intensive care?

If your child needs pediatric critical care for an illness or after an accident, your family needs the Ochsner pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Since our PICU opened at Ochsner Children's Hospital, we have been providing advanced interdisciplinary care of critically ill children.

The Ochsner PICU is known for:

  • Delivering quick care to patients with its pediatric critical care transport team, which transports children across the region via ambulance, helicopter or plane

  • Helping children in Louisiana and the greater Gulf South recover from organ transplants. Ochsner performed the first-ever pediatric heart, kidney and liver transplants in Louisiana.

  • Offering a restraint-free environment

  • Participating in Solutions for Patient Safety, a nationwide network of children’s hospitals dedicated to children’s safety and high-quality care

  • Providing 24-7 coverage by board-certified pediatric intensivists and comprehensive team care with a wide range of supportive specialists

  • Using a family-centered care model where we allow parents 24-7 access to their child, whenever possible

  • Winning the Children’s Hospital Association national patient safety award in 2018

Ochsner PICU provides a holistic and multidisciplinary model of care to help your child not just get better but to recover and thrive.

The Ochsner PICU has a highly skilled team of critical care physicians, surgeons and pediatric specialists who are board-certified and trained in the care of pediatric patients. Our care team also includes nurse practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers, speech therapists and other professionals who are specially trained to treat and manage conditions such as:

  • Airway differences and reconstructions

  • Asthma and other lung diseases

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication of diabetes

  • Brain bleeds and other head or spine injuries

  • Congenital anomalies, also known as birth defects

  • Drug overdoses or poisoning

  • Immunological disorders

  • Infections, such as pneumonia and sepsis

  • Organ transplant

  • Orthopedic diseases, such as severe scoliosis

  • Seizures and epilepsy

  • Severe viral illnesses such as COVID-19, flu and RSV

  • Trauma

A pediatric intensive care unit is just like a regular intensive care unit, except it is specifically designed for children. This level of care goes above regular emergency care and general hospital care. The Ochsner PICU provides access to leading-edge, lifesaving treatments such as:

  • Advanced organ transplantation

  • Cardiac surgery

  • Complex postoperative spine management

  • Continuous renal replacement therapy — a slow blood-filtering therapy similar to dialysis used after acute kidney injury or failure

  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — a type of life support that functions as a child’s external heart and lungs

  • Inhaled nitric oxide — used for acute respiratory failure and pulmonary hypertension

  • Intracranial pressure monitoring — measuring pressure inside the skull that can be present for any number of reasons, including infection, inflammation, injury, surgery

  • Plasmapheresis — separating blood into plasma and cells before transfusing the cells back into the patient

  • Postoperative neurosurgical care

  • Ventricular assistive device — helps or replaces the heart’s circulatory function

Eligible patients may also be referred to our clinical trials.

Staying in the PICU can be overwhelming, scary and exhausting for both children and their loved ones. That’s why Ochsner child life services will be with your family every step of the way. Our child life specialists are trained professionals who will help you, your child and any siblings cope with their diagnosis and treatment, hospital stay and ongoing outpatient care.

PICU patients with developmental disorders and special needs may also work with the team at the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development. Our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive support and specialty services to help children thrive.


Having a child in the pediatric intensive care unit can be a very stressful time for families. Many parents feel a need to be with their child as much as possible. We encourage parents, family and friends to visit as often as possible. Visitation may be limited for patients with certain conditions and treatments; however, we always try to ensure that parents can spend as much time by their child’s bedside as they want. Your child’s nurse will provide you with a copy of detailed visiting guidelines.

Our nurses are always glad to fill you in on the latest updates on your child’s progress. Additionally, the MyOchsner app makes it easy to keep up with the latest test results and prescriptions on your phone or tablet.

Most patients do not go home immediately after recovering from their critical care needs. The majority of patients are transferred to the pediatric acute ward.

If the cost of a traditional hotel or short-term rental while your child is in the PICU is a burden, Ochsner Hospital for Children partners with several facilities to provide affordable, reduced-cost or free lodging for families, including:

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Locations

Ochsner LSU Health - St. Mary Medical Center
915 Margaret Place
Shreveport, LA 71101
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Children's Hospital
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7