Neonatology - NICU

The Division of Neonatology at Lurie Children's, led by Aaron Hamvas, MD, provides the highest level of care to the most critically ill newborns in the region. The division cares for more than 2,000 infants each year in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Lurie Children’s and the NICU at Prentice Women’s Hospital. Our NICU is a Level III facility, which is the highest designation in Illinois for the level of specialized expertise and comprehensive resources available to treat the smallest and sickest babies. As one of the top programs in the State and the region, we received transfers from 47 hospitals last year and we consistently receive the most referrals in Illinois from other Level III NICU facilities. Our Neonatology program is ranked 6th in the nation by U.S.News & World Report.

Patients in our 44-bed NICU unit have immediate onsite access to 70 pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists, which allows us to treat a patient’s every need, no matter how complex. Each newborn has his or her own room, which offers a better environment for sleep and recovery. Research shows infants in single-family rooms may experience fewer complications than infants in multi-bed wards.

The division also provides consultation for newborns in the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and provides care in the Neonatal and Cardiac Intensive Care Follow-Up Clinic. This comprehensive outpatient follow-up clinic supports the development of intensive-care graduates from the NICU and the CCU to help each child reach their full potential.



Our team includes highly experienced neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal nurses, developmental care specialists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers and child life specialists. We take a family-centered approach to care, which means we involve the whole family in a patient’s treatment plan. Our Family Services team helps support our patients and their families mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Known for innovation, we are home to one of fewer than 100 programs in the nation for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a highly sophisticated mechanical heart/lung support system. Our physicians are internationally recognized leaders in the delivery of other cutting-edge therapies, such as nitric oxide for premature infants and high-frequency ventilation to help prevent lung damage. In addition, our NICU is a referral center for selective head cooling, a treatment for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

Our facility offers direct access to Prentice Women’s Hospital​, the largest birthing center in the region. This lets our team immediately care for newborns who need urgent treatment, while keeping them close to their mothers as they recover from delivery. Our neonatologists also manage more than 30,000 births each year at Lurie Children’s 11 partner hospitals,  making expert care available to newborns in communities throughout Chicago and the suburbs.  


The Division of Neonatology is involved in research projects to develop new therapies and provide the best possible care for each of our patients. Our integration of clinical and basic science research focuses on genetic and acquired lung disease, brain injury, fetal origins of disease, intestinal injury in premature newborns and optimizing nutritional support for critically ill newborns.  We participate in several clinical trials that develop and evaluate the effectiveness of new or improved treatments. Lurie Children’s plays a leading role in the Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium, a collaborative group of 24 U.S. NICUs that are dedicated to developing best practices to improve outcomes for medically-complex babies.

Make an Appointment

Physicians can arrange emergency transport of a patient to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit by calling the Transport Team at 1.800.540.4131.


Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of our tiniest patients and their families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. Private contributions, such as those from the Founders’ Board, help fund the NICU’s developmental care specialist’s salary. To learn more, please e-mail Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at​, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today​.

Dr. Hunter Makes Strides in NEC Research

Catherine Hunter, MD, runs one of the few labs researching necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, a potentially deadly disease that affects premature newborns. NEC is still poorly understood, though Dr. Hunter's recent findings are helping put together the pieces of the "complex puzzle."

Learn more.

Baby Care Connect

Baby Care Connect allows moms who are recovering after childbirth to have a video visit with their infants in our NICU. Using iPads with a secure Polycom app, you can participate in family-centered rounds and discussions with the care team, while also visiting with your child.

Baby Care Connect is currently available at Prentice Women’s Hospital, the Regenstein CCU, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, Swedish Covenant Hospital, and West Suburban Medical Center.

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​Transitioning to Home Care

Almost Home Kids (AHK), now part of the Lurie Children’s family, cares for children with complicated health needs by providing family training, respite care and short-term transitional care in a home-like setting. AHK is staffed with medical professionals and volunteers to make sure every child and their families are prepared for the return home. The Division of Neonatology works closely with Almost Home Kids to make the care transition process as easy as possible.

Learn more about AHK.