Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

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The Division of Neonatology at Lurie Children's, nationally-ranked by U.S.News & World Report, 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 IV 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 45 hospitals last year and we consistently receive the most referrals in Illinois from other Level IV NICU facilities. Our team specializes in:

  • Neurocritical care for infants with neurological problems
  • An advanced respiratory team for infants with severe lung disease
  • Genetic expertise for infants with birth defects and other genetic disorders
  • Specialized surgical intervention for infants with complex surgical problems

Patients in our 64-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.

Our Family-Centered Care Culture

An important part of our culture in the NICU is a focus on family-centered care. We believe that parents and caregivers are a vital part of the care team and that a collaborative approach improves care and outcomes for the entire family. 

As part of our focus on family-centered care, we have created a Family Partnership Council to help us improve care for infants and families. The Family Partnership Council is a team of parents of NICU graduates united with staff to provide support, develop improvement projects, and gather parental input on new and existing NICU processes, programs, and projects.

Our Programs

The Division of Neonatology has developed specialized programs to treat certain conditions in the most comprehensive way possible. Browse our list of programs to learn more about the expert-led initiatives that can help treat your child:

Conditions We Treat

Our physicians make every attempt to stay at the forefront of treatment advances, making sure they provide our patients with the best care possible. We take specialized and evidence-based approaches to diagnosing and treating critically ill newborns. The following is a list of some of the conditions we treat.

Learn More


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


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. Lurie Children's was also recently accepted to the Neonatal Research Network, a collaboration between NICUs from academic medical centers across the US and a coordinating center, that investigates the safety and efficacy of treatment and management strategies for newborn infants. 

Lurie Children's is a member of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. The network, consisting of 15 NICUs from academic medical centers across the country, is dedicated to improving the treatment and health outcomes of critically ill newborn babies through rigorous research. 

We are also part of Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO), a program supported by the NIH, that focuses on understanding the effects of early environmental influences on child health and development. 

Training & Education

Keeping with our belief that quality education is inseparable from our quality patient care, we partner with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to train tomorrow’s leading pediatric physicians. As the pediatric teaching hospital for the Feinberg School, we offer several opportunities for residents to further their education in a pediatric specialty. The Division of Neonatology offers a fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Review the Feinberg School’s information to learn how to apply.


Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and 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 the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at or call 312.227.7500.