The reimagined CVICU offers improved care, safety and quality for patients, families and staff

On the heels of its top “three-star” rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, a repeat “Best Children’s Hospital” designation, and its ranking among the nation’s top Pediatric Heart Centers from U.S. News & World Report, Phoenix Children’s will open a newly expanded Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) in July 2019. With 48 total inpatient beds, the new CVICU doubles the capacity of the previous 24-bed unit. New CVICU rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art technology like surgical lighting, lifts for mobilizing adult patients and improved monitoring capabilities.

To ensure the new CVICU wing would address patient and staff needs, designers sought insight from the Heart Center clinicians and patient families who sit on the Phoenix Children’s Heart Family Advisory Council. Per their recommendations, CVICU patient rooms are now retrofitted to function as operating rooms – or “ORs” – on a moment’s notice. Special improvements include advanced OR lighting systems and double flat-screen monitors to observe patients’ vital signs.

“The OR lights are a remarkable improvement. Having these in inpatient rooms will make it easier to perform procedures when necessary,” said Josh Koch, MD, Division Chief of the CVICU at Phoenix Children’s. “It’s two-fold: Not only does this help the operating team, but it also increases quality of care for the patient. Surgical capability in patient rooms better enables life-saving care by reducing the time needed to prep and move to an open OR.”

Beyond surgical capability, the unit will also be a better-integrated, centralized hub for CVICU staff. Several patient rooms will offer electronic lifts to help mobilize larger pediatric and adult patients. These tools assist staff and respond to America’s growing population of adult patients with congenital heart disease.  

Private areas for patient families help complete the unit, and privacy curtains are in every CVICU room. This way, families can take time to themselves without leaving their loved one’s side.

“Building the new CVICU at Phoenix Children’s was a remarkably collaborative effort,” said Dr. Koch. “Staff had an opportunity to weigh in, but we also wanted to know what our patients and their families thought about our services. We asked them, ‘What can we do better? What will make your time here easier?’ They told us.  And we listened. The CVICU is now a reflection of that.”

With a team of committed providers ready to care for patients throughout Arizona, combined with increasing national recognition of its quality and outcomes, Phoenix Children’s Heart Center has become a premier cardiac program in the U.S. Over the past two years, the Center has grown to include robust fetal cardiology services and a new adult congenital heart disease program, which enables providers to care for heart patients of all ages and at all levels of complexity.

About Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only children’s hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For 35 years, Phoenix Children's Hospital has provided world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s delivers care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. Recognized specifically for its patient-focused innovation, medical education, growth and research, Phoenix Children’s was named Business of the Year and Exceptional Innovator by the Greater Phoenix Chamber in 2018. For more information about the hospital, visit