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Surgical Procedures (Paediatric)

What to expect

If your child requires a surgical procedure, then your clinical team will fully support you throughout the process. They will ensure that you and your child (where age appropriate) understand what will happen before, during and after the procedure.


 Your Cardiologist will discuss the information from the investigations performed with a joint meeting of Cardiologists, Surgeons and many other multi-disciplinary team members. Based on this information the team will consider and discuss with you the options for surgical intervention.

 At the surgical clinic you will meet one of the surgical team that will perform your child's operation. They will explain the procedure and the risks and benefits.

 You will receive a letter or telephone call from the EMCHC team to tell you when to bring your child into hospital for their operation.


Pre-operative Care: Preparing your child for hospital

There are many different ways you can prepare your child for their hospital stay. Preparing them by giving them information can help to reduce fear

and anxiety and increase co-operation. Understanding what is happening to them helps children to cope better. 

For further support and guidance documents for your child ahead of their surgery, please click HERE


If your child needs to have a have a planned operation they will usually be admitted into the Children’s Cardiac Ward ahead of their surgery.  Admission will usually be the day before surgery to get ready.  This is the ideal time to look around the ward, meet the staff and get used to the surroundings.

To prepare your child for an operation they may have some tests, including:-

 Blood tests

 Chest X-ray

 Nose swabs for MRSA and Covid screening


Your child will have an examination by a doctor and the nurses will let you know what to expect before, during and after their operation. Consent will be taken by a surgeon who will explain about the operation.


What to expect on the day of operation

On the day of your child’s operation they will not be able to eat or drink. You will be advised of the times to be “nil by mouth”.  You will see the

anaesthetist (the doctor that puts your child to sleep) who will ask you some questions. You will be able to accompany your child to operating department. Most children will be cared for in the cardiac Paediatric Intensive Care Unit straight after surgery.


Cardiac Paediatric Intensive Care Unit

It will normally take some time to settle your child into the Paediatric intensive Care Unit (PICU) after their operation. The surgeons will explain to you in detail the operation performed. Whilst your child is on a ventilator then they will usually be cared for by one dedicated nurse who will explain what they are doing and all the equipment that is needed. The length of time required to stay in the intensive care unit will vary. Ward rounds happen every morning after which you will be updated on the plan of care for the day.


Staff you will meet when your child is in the intensive care unit:


 Intensivist (special word for doctors specialising in intensive care)


 Occupational therapist




 Play Specialist

 Cardiac Specialist Nurse

Once your child is stable and requiring less support they will be transferred to the cardiac ward for further recovery until they are ready to be discharged home.


Going home

Before discharge the ward team will give you advice and support about your child's further recovery. Your child will be seen in outpatient’s clinics soon after discharge for follow up.

For further information about your child's discharge home after surgery, please click HERE