CHRISTUS Children's

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Get Advanced NICU Care in San Antonio

Personalized, Premier Care: You and your infant receive specialized attention in our Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Every baby's unique needs, especially those born prematurely or with specific medical conditions, are our utmost priority.

Reliable Expertise Close to Home: You're surrounded by a team of board-certified neonatologists who are among the most experienced in the region.

Accessible, Round-the-Clock Care: Day or night, a dedicated neonatologist and neonatal nurse practitioner are present, ensuring continuous care for your precious one.

Spiritual and Award-Winning Compassion: You're part of a community that values excellence. Our distinction as the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Texas with the Gold-Level Beacon Award reflects our deep commitment to nurturing care, aligning with the compassion of Christ in every action.

In the heart of San Antonio, you’ll find a sanctuary for premature babies and newborns struggling with illness. Our neonatal team tirelessly pushes the boundaries to offer hope and healing, even when others might have believed there was none. As San Antonio’s first and only free-standing children’s hospital, our comprehensive approach includes:

  • Evidence-based medicine
  • An academic environment
  • Access to a wide array of pediatric specialists
  • The latest lifesaving equipment

We tirelessly push boundaries to offer hope, even when others might have believed there was none.

Our Team Includes:

  • Neonatologists
  • Neonatal nurses
  • Pediatric pharmacists
  • Pediatric nutritionists
  • Neonatal respiratory therapists
  • Occupational and physical therapists
  • Child life specialists
  • Lactation consultants
  • Case managers
  • Social workers
  • Chaplains

Katherine Heimbecker Miracle Baby

Conditions We Treat

Our 60-bed unit is equipped to care for babies born with serious conditions including:

  • Extreme prematurity, at 22 weeks pregnant
  • Abdominal wall defects: gastroschisis and omphalocele
  • Birth asphyxia
  • Intestinal atresia
  • Kidney and urinary birth defects
  • Micrognathia (Robin Sequence)
  • Myelomeningocele and other birth defects of the brain and spine
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Complex congenital heart disease
  • Complex genetic disorders
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Neonatal seizures and strokes
  • Open neural tube defects
  • Tracheoesophageal fistula
  • And many other complex conditions

Treatment and Services Provided

You will have access to a comprehensive approach to caring for each infant with a full complement of physicians available in the following pediatric subspecialties:

  • Cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Craniofacial and plastic surgery
  • Ear, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology)
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • General surgery
  • Genetics
  • Neurosurgery
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Urology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Pulmonology

Treatments Offered at CHRISTUS Children's NICU

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) 

ECMO is a method of life support that allows a newborn’s heart or lungs time to heal. ECMO takes over the function of the heart or lungs by providing oxygenated blood and removing the deoxygenated blood and carbon dioxide from the newborn’s body.

While on ECMO, newborns are closely monitored by an ECMO physician, ECMO specialist, and specially trained nurse.

Established in 1989, CHRISTUS Children’s ECMO program is the most active and experienced center of its kind in South Texas. The Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) certified our program as a Gold Level Center of Excellence.

To learn more about our ECMO Program click here.

High-Frequency Ventilation 

High-frequency ventilation (high frequency jet ventilation and high-frequency oscillator) is a form of more gentle breathing support using small and rapid puffs of air into the newborn’s lungs. The treatment is used instead of a conventional ventilator when higher pressure is needed to ventilate a newborn’s fragile lungs.

Therapeutic Hypothermia (Whole Body Cooling) 

You will have access to whole body cooling for infants with severe asphyxia. After birth, some infants show signs of reduced oxygen or blood flow to the brain. Whole body cooling lowers an infant’s body temperature slowly and safely to 92 degrees Fahrenheit for about three days.

This treatment can help limit brain damage by slowing the brain’s metabolism. During neonatal cooling, the baby will lie on a water-filled cooling blanket with electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring of the baby’s brainwave activity.

Inhaled Nitric Oxide Treatment (iNO) 

Inhaled nitric oxide is a therapy used to treat high blood pressure in the lungs of neonates (pulmonary hypertension). Nitric oxide is inhaled into the baby’s lungs through a breathing tube. This helps the blood vessels in the lungs relax and widen, reducing blood pressure in the lungs.

Innovation and Clinical Research 

The field of neonatal-perinatal medicine has made great strides in improving outcomes for the most fragile infants in our care. By participating in clinical research with hospitals across the country, you will have access to evidence-based innovative care that saves lives and gives our children the best possible outcome.

Read personal stories from families at CHRISTUS Children's.

Discover Stories From the NICU Here

Safety and Quality Improvements

At CHRISTUS Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, you will be provided with quality care and safety.

Our multidisciplinary team systematically analyzes our practice performance and important outcome measures to improve the care we provide to our babies.

Some of our quality improvement projects include antibiotic stewardship, improving the discharge process, reducing intraventricular hemorrhage in extremely premature infants (born as early as 22 weeks), and initiating bubble CPAP in the delivery room.

Safe Sleep

CHRISTUS Children’s NICU unit has a Sleep Safe program. Safe Sleep for children, particularly infants, is a set of practices aimed at reducing the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of mortality.

ALL KIDZ Critical Care Transport Team

CHRISTUS Children's has a dedicated team available 24 hours a day to transport critically ill infants from hospitals throughout our region by airplane, helicopter, or ambulance.

The team consists of 24 neonatal nurse specialists who work directly under the supervision of an in-house neonatologist. The ALL KIDZ Critical Care transport team includes specially trained nurses and respiratory therapists proficient in caring for children of all ages.

The team is highly experienced in using inhaled nitric oxide, high-frequency ventilation, and passive cooling during transport.

Complex Neonatal Surgery

You will have access to our specially trained and experienced surgeons who are part of our multidisciplinary team at CHRISTUS Children’s. This team provides complex surgeries to repair conditions caused by birth defects including:

  • Spinal cord (spina bifida or meningomyelocele)
  • Airway (choanal atresia and tracheoesophageal atresia)
  • Abdominal wall (gastroschisis and omphalocele)
  • Urinary system (bladder exstrophy and severe hydronephrosis)
  • Rectum (imperforate anus and cloacal exstrophy)
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Multidisciplinary Teams Managing Complex Conditions

We have developed specialized teams of physicians who collaborate to bring about the best possible outcome for your NICU baby:

  • Perinatal and Neonatal Genetic Program
  • Chronic Lung Disease Program
  • Tiny Baby Team
  • Small Bowel Program
  • Neonatal Neuroprotection program
  • NICU Next Steps Program

Hours & Locations


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