Advances in cardiac intensive careCooper, David S; Nichter, Mark ACurrent Opinion in Pediatrics: October 2006 - Volume 18 - Issue 5 - p 503–511 doi: 10.1097/01.mop.0000245350.30089.69 Cardiovascular medicine Abstract Author Information Purpose of review As surgical survival in children with congenital heart disease, particularly those with univentricular hearts, has improved in recent years, focus has shifted to reducing the morbidity of congenital cardiac malformations and their treatment. This review will focus on emerging therapies aimed at reducing these morbidities in the intensive care unit. Recent findings A protracted stay in the intensive care unit after cardiac surgery is a risk factor for developing various morbidities. Therapies or interventions that may hasten postoperative recovery and minimize the length of stay are thus important to evaluate. Fluid overload, renal dysfunction, low cardiac output and neurological dysfunction remain major contributors to morbidity after cardiac surgery. In addition, the treatment of these adverse states can potentially compound the injury. Summary The reduction in morbidity after cardiac surgery remains challenging. Recent insights have allowed us to recognize the impact of factors beyond the intraoperative period as significant contributors to morbidity. As our field continues to evolve, future studies should focus on emerging technologies and therapies that facilitate the prevention of physiological states that compound congenital morbidities. The Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, All Children's Hospital, University of South Florida, St Petersburg, Florida, USA Correspondence to David S. Cooper, MD, MPH, Florida Pediatric Associates, 880 Sixth Street South, Suite 370, St Petersburg, FL 33701, USA Tel: +1 727 767 4375; fax: +1 727 767 4951; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.