Valley Heart & Vascular Institute - Cardiac Surgery
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Pre-Operative Care

What to Expect Before Surgery:

  • You will be invited to attend our cardiac surgery education session, where a nurse will review the surgical process and show you a video.
Cardiac Surgery Education
  • You will have a history and physical performed by one of the nurse practitioners.
History and Physical
  • Routine blood work will be ordered, as well as a chest x ray. In some cases, based on your pre-existing medical history, we may order some pulmonary tests to assess your baseline lung function and a carotid ultrasound.
  • You may not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. In the morning, you can take the medications you were instructed to take with small sips of water.
  • You will be instructed to stop your aspirin, coumadin and any non-steroidal medication (such as Motrin, Advil or Aleve) 5 to 7 days before surgery. It is very important that you tell the surgeon and/or nurse practitioner of any over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies that you take on a regular basis. These medications may affect bleeding and need to be discontinued also.
  • Use the sponges you were given when you shower the night before surgery. Start with your neck, and then wash your chest, arms and legs. Repeat with the second sponge.
  • Please call the surgical office immediately if you develop any signs of a cold before your surgery (for example, a cough, runny nose, or fever).
  • Do not bring any valuables to the hospital. Dentures, contacts and hearing aides will be removed before surgery.
  • The cardiac surgery office will call you the afternoon before your surgery to inform you of the time you need to come to the hospital.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery:

  • You will go to the front desk in the main lobby and be directed to the same day surgical area. The staff will give your family a beeper that will be used to contact you once the surgery is over.
  • A nurse in the same day surgery unit will prepare you for surgery. This will involve asking you some additional questions and prepping your skin.
  • Your family will wait in the waiting room on the 4th floor. When the surgery is over, the surgeon will speak with your family.
  • In general, the surgery will take 3 to 5 hours. Preparation before and after may extend this time. Do not be alarmed.
  • Immediately after surgery, you will be brought to the CSICU (cardiac surgery intensive care unit). You will be in the CSICU for at least 24 hours. Visiting hours in the intensive care unit is limited. Only 2 immediate family members will be allowed in at a time. Visiting hours are from noon to 8 p.m.
  • We request that 1 family member be designated as the spokesperson. All communication from the healthcare staff will be directed to this individual to avoid any chance of miscommunication or confusion.
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