Las Vegas – Southern Nevada’s first neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, is celebrating 50 years of quality, compassionate care for the youngest and most vulnerable patients in our community. The NICU, which cares for more than a thousand babies every year, opened in 1974. Today, it is the most advanced and largest Level III NICU in Nevada.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see the passion and dedication of our NICU physician teams, neonatologists, and nurses as they tend to the tiny patients in our care,” said Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital Chief Executive Officer Todd P. Sklamberg. “Being the most advanced and comprehensive children’s hospital in the state is a source of great pride.”

Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers a full array of comprehensive care for the state’s smallest and sickest babies. For example, it is the only hospital in Nevada to perform neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) which takes over the functions of a baby’s heart and/or lungs to allow healing and recovery.

It is also the first hospital in the state to perform total body cooling on infants in distress. The procedure promotes healing after a traumatic birth by slowing the body’s functions through cooling. Additionally, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has an extensive neonatal surgical program.

In its 50-year history, the youngest baby cared for in the NICU was just 22 weeks old. The smallest was only 0.83 pounds, or 13 ounces, which is less than a bottle of water. A NICU stay can range from one day to more than a year. The average stay is 23 days. Each year the NICU admits more than 100 babies with very low birthweights consisting of less than 3.3 pounds or 52.91 ounces.

Beyond the care delivered by exceptional physicians and nurses in the NICU, Sunrise Children’s Hospital offers many other critical and lifesaving services, including:

  • Nevada’s only Pediatric Heart Surgery Program;
  • Nevada’s only Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit; and
  • Nevada’s only Pediatric Inpatient Rehab.

In addition, the hospital’s congenital heart program has earned “best in class” rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for its comprehensive services including advanced technologies, advanced interventional techniques and expert cardiac care.

“It’s gratifying and deeply meaningful to think about the positive impact on families’ lives our hospital has made,” Sklamberg said.  “We look forward to caring for our smallest patients for another 50 years and beyond.”