Heart Center

The Day of Surgery

Whether you are coming from home or are already in the hospital, you will be taken to the pre-operative unit about one to two hours prior to your scheduled surgery.

At this time you will:

  • Have an IV started in your hand or arm
  • Have your body hair clipped from the neck down
  • Meet the anesthesiologist
  • Have additional questions answered and sign the consents for the surgery

Close family members can wait there with you, but please limit the number of individuals that accompany you since there is limited space within the area.

When the surgical team is ready to begin your surgery, you will be given some medicine to help you relax. You will then be taken to the operating room. Further preparation will be done in the operating room and you will be given some additional medicine that will allow you to sleep through the procedure.

What Should Family and Friends do While You are in Surgery?

When you are taken into the operating room, family and friends are allowed to wait in waiting area throughout the hospital. The operating room nurse will call the primary family member’s cell phone and keep them updated with the status of the patient every one to two hours. Once the surgery is near finish, the operating room nurse will call and tell the family to go up to the 4th floor CICU where the surgeon can meet them and tell them how the procedure went and how you are doing.

Family and friends will be allowed into the room by the nurse when the patient is stable and all the postoperative tests have been completed. This usually happens about 30-45 minutes after they arrive in CICU waiting room.

Inside the CICU

The critical care environment can be a very stressful and unpleasant place to be for both the patient and family members. Here is some information regarding the ICU experience that will hopefully make your stay a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable.

What Family and Friends Should Expect to First See

When your loved ones first walk into the room, they will notice five monitoring devices:

  • Breathing Tube – Patients may or may not have a breathing tube. In some patients the breathing tube is removed in the operating room after the procedure. Other patients who need more time and are not ready, will have the breathing tube in and transfer with it to CICU. The breathing tube is often one of the scariest things for the patient and family. It helps the patient breathe while they are asleep and when they wake up the tube will be removed as soon as the patient can breathe on their own. The patient may become anxious and feel like they can’t breathe. They are breathing fine and it is just the awkward nature of the tube. Usually the tube is out within two hours of waking up in the ICU. This depends on the patient’s breathing status and may be in longer with other patients.
  • Swan Ganz Catheter – This is a large IV placed in the patient’s neck. It monitors the heart function and also allows nurses to give needed medications.
  • Arterial Line – This line is placed in the patient’s wrist. It continuously monitors blood pressure.
  • Chest Tubes – These tubes help drain leftover blood in the chest area.
  • Foley Catheter – The tube drains urine from the patient’s bladder into a bag at the end of the bed.

Other noticeable items might include:

  • Additional IV sites in the patient’s arm to administer medications when needed.
  • One or both legs wrapped in an ace bandage to allow the graft site to heal.
  • White dressing over sternal incision in chest area.
  • Patient’s skin color will be orange/yellow due to antiseptic applied during surgery. The antiseptic helps prevent infections.

Expectations of Family and Visitors in CICU

Taking care of your loved one is our number one priority.

Therefore, we ask visitors to adhere to the following regulations:

  • We have open visiting in the CICU. However, we ask that you limit the number of visitors to 2 at a time, family only, and respect the privacy of other patients in the unit.
  • Only two people are allowed in the room at a time.
  • We encourage all visitors to visit your loved one for short periods of time. Patients will get tired very easily and their rest is very important.
  • Please limit visitors to immediate family only while in CICU.