Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few hospitals in the country with a special intensive care service for newborns who have a neurological injury or disorder and may be at risk for developmental problems.

This service, called the Neurological Newborn Intensive Care Unit (Neuro NICU), is a collaboration between the divisions of Neonatology and Pediatric Neurology, which are ranked among the best in the nation. The Neuro NICU is housed within our NICU on the fourth floor of the hospital’s Critical Care Building, where premature and critically ill babies receive the most advanced care possible.

The Neuro NICU’s experienced doctors, nurses and other specialists work together to provide state-of-the-art, brain-focused care. The first few weeks and months of life are a crucial window of development for newborns, and time is of the essence in the Neuro NICU. Our goal is to accurately identify medical concerns as early as possible and intervene quickly.

Advanced technologies housed in the Neuro NICU help our team diagnose, monitor and treat babies without transporting them to other areas of the hospital. These technologies include 3-tesla (3T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bedside computed tomography (CT), video electroencephalography (EEG) and many others.

We also provide whole-body hypothermia therapy, a treatment that lowers a baby’s body temperature to 92 degrees F for three days. “Therapeutic hypothermia” is proven to reduce the risk of death and disability in babies who experienced a severe lack of oxygen during birth. Neonatologists at Cincinnati Children’s helped pioneer this groundbreaking therapy more than a decade ago.

Our Caring Experts

The Neuro NICU brings together a diverse group of experienced specialists who are passionate about treating newborns with neurological injuries or disorders. They include:

Neonatologists, who lead the care team
Neonatal neurologists
Fetal care specialists
Pediatric neurosurgeons
Pediatric neuroradiologists
Pediatric genetics specialists
Pediatric rehabilitation medicine physicians
Bedside nurses 
Advanced practice nurses 
Physical, occupational and speech-language therapists

The Neuro NICU team provides the type of care all children in the NICU receive—specialized, well-coordinated and family-centered. But as “brain-focused” experts, they have the training and skill to treat conditions that affect neurological development. They also lead and participate in research studies that are helping doctors and researchers around the world provide more effective care for critically ill babies.

Easing the Transition Home

When it’s time for you to take your baby home, we will ensure you have the information and support needed for this next phase of your family’s life. We’ll work with you to create a discharge plan. The plan may include having healthcare providers come to your home, training you on medical equipment or supplies you’ll need and making an appointment with the Cincinnati Children’s Newborn Intensive Care Follow-up Clinic. This clinic, led by neonatologists and pediatric neurologists with a special interest in brain health and development, provides long-term follow-up to help babies reach their full potential.