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Surgical Procedures

What to expect

Preparation for Heart Surgery

 After assessment in clinic your cardiologist may decide that you would benefit from an operation. They will take the results of your tests to a panel meeting of heart specialists, heart surgeons and specialist nurses at Glenfield Hospital.

 The panel meeting may recommend a heart operation or keyhole procedure, or decide that no treatment is necessary at that stage. You will receive a letter detailing the outcome and the reasons behind it. You may also receive a telephone call from, one of the specialist nurses.

 If it is recommended that you have an operation, we will ask you to have a dental check. Good oral health before surgery is essential to minimise the risk of infective complications. For further information, please click HERE

 We will invite you to meet one of our Surgeons in the outpatient department at Glenfield Hospital. They will talk you through the procedure and explain the risks and benefits.

 At this clinic visit you will have bloods tests, and swabs for MRSA and COVID. You will meet one of the Specialist Nurse Team. 


Admission to Hospital 

 You will be admitted to our cardiac surgical ward at Glenfield Hospital on the afternoon before your operation. The anaesthetist will see you to discuss the general anaesthetic.


What happens during my operation?

 Under general anaesthetic, the surgical team will usually make a cut through your breast bone (sternum) to access your heart.

 Is often necessary to stop the heart to carry out the operation. During this period, a heart lung bypass machine takes over the circulation and breathing. Once the operation is completed your surgeon will restart your heart and take you off the heart lung bypass machine.

 The breastbone is then secured with 5-6 strong wires. These hold the breast bone together until it has healed. The wound is then closed.


Post-Surgical Care

 Immediately after your surgery, you will be transferred to the Adult Intensive Care Unit. After surgery you will be connected to a breathing machine (ventilator) until you are strong enough to breathe on your own.  A dedicated nurse will monitor your progress and when the intensive care team are happyyou will be discharged to the ward. 

 You will also be connected to a drip to give you fluids and medications. You will have a tube in the bladder, and be connected to a heart monitor. Surgical drains will also be in place. These lines and tubes will be removed over the following few days.

 You will be seen regularly by a physiotherapist to aid your post-operative recovery, mobility, breathing, and rehabilitation

 Patients are usually well enough to go home 7-10 days after heart surgery. For further information about your recovery when home, please click HERE.

 You will be seen in the outpatient department at Glenfield by one of our specialist nurses 1-2 weeks after discharge from hospital. They will review your wound healing and address any concerns you may have. Outpatient review by your heart specialist will be arranged for a few weeks after that.