It takes a special level of skill, preparation and resources to care for babies who are born with heart diseases, some of which require urgent treatment as newborns. These children often require critical care and close monitoring before and after heart surgery.
Pediatric cardiologists and surgeons at the Riley Heart Center are national leaders in advanced solutions for patients with congenital heart defects and acquired heart disease. We handle over 500 cases each year, placing us among the busiest pediatric heart programs in the nation.
Our Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) is staffed around the clock by intensive care physicians who are board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. This team has experienced nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists and pharmacists—all with training and expertise in pediatric cardiac care. For seamless integration of all aspects of care, the CVICU team works closely with a team of cardiologists dedicated to our unit.
Why Riley at IU Health?
As one of 30+ pediatric heart programs in the United States that is certified to perform heart transplants, the Riley Heart Center is equipped with an extraordinary set of critical care resources, such as:
Advanced Diagnostic, Monitoring and Life Support Technology. The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Riley at IU Health has a full suite of sophisticated diagnostic and monitoring equipment plus invasive life support such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)—a heart-lung machine that supports a child while the heart and lungs heal. ECMO technology is staffed by a dedicated team of experts and can be deployed for infants, children and adults.
We are one of the few pediatric intensive care units in the nation that routinely employs neurotelemetry—an advanced form of monitoring that watches for subtle changes in brain electrical activity while babies recover from heart operations performed on bypass. This monitoring allows us to detect abnormal brain activity such as seizures before it becomes clinically apparent. Neurotelemetry helps us initiate early treatment, monitor its effectiveness and significantly decrease the occurrence of prolonged, unrecognized seizures, which can have adverse effects on brain development.
Multidisciplinary Care. Although the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit specializes in heart care, our smallest, most complex patients often have multiple conditions involving other organ systems in the body. As a leading children’s hospital, we are driven to achieve the best and most comprehensive care for each child’s unique needs. To ensure this, we collaborate with experts from other subspecialties, such as Anesthesiology, Nephrology & Kidney Diseases, Neonatology, Neurology, Cancer & Blood Diseases and Infectious Diseases. Sharing our collective knowledge brings focus and expertise to each patient’s care.
A Family-Centered Approach. Sometimes a child is in the CVICU for only one day, or they may go through a prolonged and complicated recovery that lasts for weeks. At your child’s most vulnerable time, we not only provide the best possible healthcare, but we also care for your family with emotional, financial and logistical support.
Management of Adult Congenital Heart Defects. As more children with congenital heart disease survive into adulthood, there is a growing population of adults with surgically corrected or palliated congenital heart disease. These patients have specific healthcare needs that are best managed by cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons with training in congenital heart disease. Our pediatric cardiology and congenital cardiovascular surgeons play an important role in managing care for these patients, in concert with the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. When surgery is needed, it is performed at Riley at IU Health. Patients recover postoperatively in CVICU at the Riley Heart Center, where they are monitored until they are ready to transfer to the care of the Adults With Congenital Heart Disease Program.
Conditions & Services
Our pediatric specialists provide patient- and family-centered care for most related conditions. The links below provide more specific information about some, but not all, of the conditions that we treat.
Our dedicated team of cardiology specialists work around the clock to provide highly specialized care to patients at Riley at IU Health. Our department coordinates with specialists from other departments to ensure every patient receives the expert care he or she needs.
Related Programs & Departments
Related Programs & Departments
We provide multispecialty care for a number of conditions. Below are links to our related programs & departments.
For Health Professionals
Specialists at the Riley Heart Center work with primary care physicians to provide advanced care for children and adults with congenital heart disease. Referring physicians may contact us at 317.944.8906 or by fax at 317.968.1275
Transfer a Patient
To request a patient transfer to Riley at IU Health, call the IU Health Transfer Center: 317.963.3330
Refer A Patient
Riley at IU Health works with referring physicians in Indiana and beyond.Refer A Patient
Riley Heart Center specialists are active researchers who improve care for congenital heart disease through innovation. They participate in numerous clinical trials and research to find better treatment options. A team of physicians, researchers and coordinators at the Riley Heart Center collect outcome data for research purposes, working with other scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine. They also use research to support continuous process improvement at the Riley Heart Center. Bench researchers at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research collaborate with our physicians on studies related to heart failure in children.
The Riley Heart Center offers formal fellowship training for physicians who want to advance their experience in pediatric cardiology, critical care and cardiac surgery. Visit the Indiana University School of Medicine website for details about our fellowship program.