What is a Level IIIB Neonatal NICU?
Our NICU is certified by California Children’s Services (CCS) as a Community Level NICU and also meets the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) definition of a Level IIIB NICU. This is a designation only given to hospitals that have the expertise to care for the most complicated births; at risk newborns including as early as 23-28 weeks gestation, birth weights of 500-1,000 grams (one to two lbs.) birth weight; and/or other neonates with serious illnesses who require critical or intermediate level care.
According to the AAP and CCS, Level III designated NICUs are subdivided into three levels (A, B and C) differentiated by the capability to provide advanced medical and surgical care. A level IIIC is the most advanced and is usually located at children’s or university hospitals.
The difference between a level IIIB and IIIC NICU is the hospitals’ capabilities to conduct serious congenital cardiac malformations requiring bypass surgery and ECMO treatment (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is essentially a heart-lung bypass machine that can be used to support certain critically ill neonates).
A Level IIIB/Community Level Neonatal ICU is able to:
- Provide comprehensive care for all at risk newborns including those less than 28-weeks gestation (as low as 23 weeks) and those with birth weights less than 1,000 grams (1 to just over 2 lbs) birth weight.
- Provide advanced respiratory support such as CPAP, conventional ventilation and high-frequency ventilation. Inhaled nitric oxide is also available when needed.
- Perform surgical procedures on neonates.
- Provide advanced imaging support on an urgent basis, including CT, MRI, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and echocardiography.
Northridge Hospital NICU Landmark Events
- First NICU in the Valley to utilize surfactant therapy, a lifesaving medication for infants born with immature lungs (Respiratory Distress Syndrome).
- First NICU in the Valley to utilize transcutaneous oxygen saturation monitoring
(non-invasive monitoring of the babies’ oxygen levels in the blood).
Devised the Meconium Aspirator suction device used for suctioning meconium from the airway of high-risk infants. It was featured in the American Academy of Pediatrics Newborn Resuscitation Program text and is now used nationwide.
First NICU in the Valley to join the Vermont Oxford Network, an international program whose goal is to analyze NICU patient data and provide feedback for improvement.
- The only NICU in the Valley to provide a negative pressure incubator (prior to the development of high frequency oscillatory ventilation).
- Two of our Neonatologists trained under the pioneer of neonatal health Louis Gluck, MD, at UCSD. He opened the very first NICU in the United States at Yale University.
- The first community hospital in the Valley to have had a Neonatology Fellowship rotation as part of the UCLA Neonatology Fellowship training program.
- Affiliated with the UCLA Family Practice Residency teaching program.