The Neurological Newborn Intensive Care Unit (Neuro NICU) is designed around your baby’s needs — from the technology we offer at the bedside to the therapies our physician-researchers helped pioneer. 

State-of-the-Art Diagnostics

Advanced neurological tests and neuroimaging technologies help the medical team understand what is happening in and around a baby’s brain. Just as important, our experts have the knowledge and experience to interpret these advanced tests and scans. This high level of care leads to personalized treatment that is evidence-based and focused on achieving the best possible developmental outcomes. 

Some of our testing and imaging technologies include:

A first-of-its-kind, “baby-sized” 3-tesla (3T) magnetic resonance imaging unit 
A computed tomography (CT) scanner that can be moved to the bedside for easy access
Video EEG machines are available at the bedside 24/7 to monitor babies who are having seizures or are at high risk for seizures.

These technologies are available in the Neuro NICU, which means our team can keep your baby on the unit for testing and imaging rather than taking them to another area in the hospital. This keeps babies safe, warm and more stable during this critical time in their young lives.

If the care team believes a genetic disorder plays a role in your child’s condition, they will order advanced genetic testing. The Molecular Genetics Laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s is one of the largest and most specialized academic molecular genetics labs in the United States. The team provides rapid results and expert interpretation. 

Advanced Therapies and Surgeries

Whole-body hypothermia cooling is the most significant advancement in newborn neurological care in decades, and Cincinnati Children’s researchers played a role in its development. Whole-body hypothermia involves cooling the body to about 92 degrees F for 72-96 hours. We offer it to certain infants who have been through a traumatic birth and experienced reduced oxygen levels or blood flow to their brains or bodies. This treatment can preserve cells and decrease damage to the brain, which can help reduce a child’s risk of death and disability. 

Some babies in the Neuro NICU need surgery for problems such as bleeding in the brain and spina bifida. The Neuro NICU team includes pediatric neurosurgeons who have extensive experience and skill in these delicate procedures. When possible, they use minimally invasive techniques, which can lead to faster healing and less pain. These neurosurgeons are part of the hospital’s renowned Division of Neurosurgery.

Our neurosurgeons also offer fetal surgeries for conditions once considered life-threatening or only treatable after birth. Cincinnati Children’s is one of only three fetal surgery centers in the United States with the expertise to perform the full range of fetal surgical interventions. Since 2004, we have performed more than 1,900 fetal surgical procedures.

Long-Term Follow-Up 

Even with exceptional care, some newborns experience long-term effects from a brain injury or neurological condition. These can include mild to severe developmental concerns that affect a child’s speaking, thinking, learning and walking. Treating these problems early in life can help your child thrive. But early warning signs are not always apparent in the first weeks and months of life.

That’s why it’s crucial your child receive follow-up care from experts who can recognize early signs of concern and connect you quickly with the right treatment and support. This is the type of care your child will receive in the Cincinnati Children’s Newborn Intensive Care Follow-up Clinic. This clinic provides comprehensive follow-up care from a team that includes a fetal and neonatal neurologist, neonatologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, registered dietitian and social worker. By providing consistent care over the long term, the team can identify risk factors for poor neurologic development and which targeted therapies may improve outcomes.