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Critical Care

Critical Care

Service available at   Kapiolani Pali Momi Straub Wilcox

Patients admitted to a critical care unit suffer from a life-threatening illness or injury or need intensive care in order to recover from major surgery. A team of experts provides round-the-clock attention and care to help ensure comprehensive care and recovery. At Hawaii Pacific Health, critical care services include the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (NICU/PICU), Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and emergency transport services. Each of these services provides an essential safety net for Hawaii's most vulnerable patients.

Programs & Services available at:


Kapiolani 808-983-6000

Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units (NICU/PICU)

The NICU/PICU at Kapiolani provides care for critically ill and injured newborns, children and teens. The dedicated team at Kapiolani works hard to quickly diagnose and treat a full range of medical conditions, including rare infections, fractures, sports injuries and everything in between.

A critical care doctor is available 24 hours a day.

Kapiolani is currently building a new state-of-the-art NICU/PICU building scheduled to be completed in early 2016. For more information, visit Kapiolani Construction.


Transport Services (Air and Ground Ambulance)

Kapiolani cares for children, adolescents and women from all over the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. This means that patients often come to Kapiolani from other hospitals. Patients who need to be transported need special care while being moved to Kapiolani. The Kapiolani Transport Team provides this special care while moving patients in its specialized transport plane or ambulance.

For Patients and Family Members

If you or a loved one is being transported to Kapiolani, you will receive a helpful transport packet during the transition. The packet is also available online for easy reference. For further questions, please contact Kapiolani at 1-808-983-6000.

For Referring Providers

We hope you find this online resource a useful tool for your patients who are coming for care at Kapiolani. Please let us know if you are in need of additional paper copies of our transport packet as we are happy to provide it. For your needs we’ve also provided our referring facility letter so you have access to it.

To arrange a transport, call 1-808-983-6555 or toll-free 1-877-581-1027.


Extracorporeal Membranous Oxygenation

What Is ECMO?

Extracorporeal Membranous Oxygenation, or ECMO, uses a heart-lung machine similar to the machine used in open-heart surgery. There are two types of ECMO. Venoarterial (VA) ECMO uses an artery and a vein. Venovenous (VV) ECMO uses one or two veins. The doctor will decide which one your child needs. When a child goes on ECMO, the following things happen:

  1. The child is given medications to prevent pain and movement during the placement of the catheters. This procedure will happen in the Intensive Care Unit.
  2. A surgeon will place the catheters, or cannulas, into large veins and arteries located on the right side of the neck or the groin. The number of cannulas used depends on the type of ECMO your child needs. Your child may have one special cannula placed into the vein of the neck, depending upon how big your child is. This cannula will do the job of two cannulas.
  3. The ECMO machine is made up of several parts: a pump, an artificial lung, a blood warmer and monitoring device. The ECMO machine takes the blue blood (without oxygen) out of the body and pumps it through the artificial lung (oxygenator). The blood is now red (with oxygen). This blood is also warmed before returning to the child.

The ECMO machine does the work for your child’s lungs (VV ECMO) and heart (VA ECMO), which allows them time to rest and heal. During the time your child is on ECMO, he or she will still be connected to the breathing machine, also known as the ventilator. The ventilator is used to prevent the lungs from collapsing. At the beginning of ECMO, the ECMO machine does most of the work for the lungs (VV ECMO) and heart (VA ECMO). Even though your child will seem to be much better, it is important to remember that the ECMO machine is doing the work the lungs and heart cannot do.

ECMO Parent Handbook (PDF)

Colorado ECMO Conference Research Abstract (PDF)

ECMO Transport System Manual (PDF)

Transport and ECMO Services Resources [PDFs]:

Transport -- For Patients and Family Members: 

If you or a loved one is being transported to Kapiolani, you will receive a helpful transport packet during the transition. The packet is also available online for easy reference. For further questions, please contact Kapiolani at 1-808-983-6000.

Transport -- For Referring Providers:

We hope you find this online resource a useful tool for your patients who are coming for care at Kapiolani. Please let us know if you are in need of additional paper copies of our transport packet as we are happy to provide it. For your needs we’ve also provided our referring facility letter so you have access to it.

To arrange a transport, call 1-808-983-6555 or toll-free 1-877-581-1027.


ECMO Services Resources [PDFs]:

Service Locations