How to Read NICU Levels

Published on June 28th, 2012 by Diana Duren.

Level I – or “well-newborn nursery,” cares for healthy babies

Level II – or “specialty care nursery,” cares for babies who
are slightly premature or have a low birth weight, but aren’t experiencing breathing difficulties. Can administer antibiotics or IV therapy.

II A – cannot provide prolonged ventilation

II B – can provide ventilation for less than 24 hours or
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

Level III – or “subspecialty intensive care unit,” has personnel and equipment to administer life support as long as it is needed

III A – can provide conventional mechanical ventilation and minor surgical procedures

III B – more specialized ventilation and more complex
surgical procedures with pediatric subspecialists

III C – has all ventilation and surgical capabilities, plus Extracorporeal membrane oxygentation (ECMO)