The following is the definition of a Level III NICU according to two separate sources. It’s interesting to me that there are so many sublevels…why didn’t they just make NICU Levels IV, V, and VI? Just curious…
“Level III: Subspecialty Newborn Care: Level III NICUs care for the sickest babies and offer the greatest variety of support.
- Level IIIA: These nurseries care for babies born greater than 28 weeks. They offer mechanical ventilation and minor surgical procedures such as central line placement.
- Level IIIB: Level IIIB NICUs can offer different types of mechanical ventilation, have access to a wide range of pediatric specialists, can use imaging capabilities beyond x-ray, and may provide some surgeries requiring anesthesia.
- Level IIIC: The most acute care is provided in level IIIC NICUs. These nurseries can provide advanced ventilation, including ECMO, and can provide advanced surgeries including “open-heart” surgeries to correct congenital heart defects.”
And in slightly more detail…
“Level III (subspecialty): a hospital NICU organized with personnel and equipment to provide continuous life support and comprehensive care for extremely high-risk newborn infants and those with complex and critical illness. Level III is subdivided into 3 levels differentiated by the capability to provide advanced medical and surgical care.
Level IIIA units can provide care for infants with birth weight of more than 1000 g and gestational age of more than 28 weeks. Continuous life support can be provided but is limited to conventional mechanical ventilation.
Level IIIB units can provide comprehensive care for extremely low birth weight infants (1000 g birth weight or less and 28 or less weeks’ gestation); advanced respiratory care such as high-frequency ventilation and inhaled nitric oxide; prompt and on-site access to a full range of pediatric medical subspecialists; and advanced imaging with interpretation on an urgent basis, including computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and echocardiography and have pediatric surgical specialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on site or at a closely related institution to perform major surgery. Level IIIC units have the capabilities of a level IIIB NICU and are located within institutions that can provide ECMO and surgical repair of serious congenital cardiac malformations that require cardiopulmonary bypass.”
I imagine to many people these different sublevels wouldn’t mean very much, but to those of us who stared all of these medical situations in the face we can probably guess what level of NICU our preemies were in if we didn’t know before.
Next post…Is there a Level IV NICU?
Discussion: Was your preemie stationed in a Level III NICU? Do you know what sublevel? What facilities were available for parents in these high-tech NICUs?