Surgery & "Top Tips" for coming into hospital

  • Information about cardiac surgery

    Once a decision has been made that you require surgery, you will receive an appointment to meet a surgeon. The surgeon will talk to you about the operation and explain the risks and benefits. If you agree to go ahead you will be put on the waiting list. You will get a phone call or letter about 2 weeks before your surgery to ask you to attend the pre-admission clinic.

    These clinics are held every Wednesday morning, by the Adult Congenital Nurse Specialist before your planned operation date. You will have an ECG (heart tracing), Chest X-ray, MRSA swabs and some bloods taken in preparation for surgery. You will also need to bring in a urine sample and a list of your medications. The discussion will be around admission, preparation for surgery and follow-up care. This is to make sure you are ready for surgery and also to give you an opportunity to ask any questions or find out more about coming into hospital.

  • You will come into hospital the day before surgery. You will meet the ward team, surgeon and anaesthetist, who will talk through the operation again. You will be in hospital for about one week, with at least one day and one night on the intensive care unit (ICU).
    After your operation you will be closely monitored by the surgeon and cardiologist. You will also have access to the adult congenital nurse specialists, specialist physiotherapist and psychology team. Before discharge a nurse specialist will visit you on the ward to talk with you about how best to take care of yourself when you go home.
    By the time you are discharged, you will be able to dress yourself, shower, manage a flight of stairs and make yourself a light meal/snack.
    We advise against heavy, strenuous activity for at least 6-8 weeks, but encourage you to recover by regular walking and light activity.
    We will give you more advice before discharge.

    These Top Tips have been written by adults who have experienced a hospital stay
    Food & Drink

    • Take a bottle of squash with you – unless you like drinking water at room temperature
    • Take fruit sweets/ mints/ chewing gum- can help freshen mouth/ some medication can taste horrid.
    • Take snacks, your appetite is probably not going to be the best so snacks will allow you to eat little and often/ when you want.
    • Get visitors to bring in food that you fancy as some of the hospital meals can be interesting (I’ll never forget ham and parsley sauce?!).
    • Make best friends with the lovely healthcare assistants so you don’t have to have breakfast at 7.00, 9.30 is a much more acceptable time (probably only relevant if you’re a long termer ?).
    • Most wards allow you to order a take out meal that can be delivered to the Ward – Ask the staff on the ward

    Passing time!
    • Pack music, i Pod or on phone, can help if you can’t sleep on a night due to the noise.
    • Chargers!!!
    • Pack magazines/ easy puzzle book/ colouring book (or book), sometimes you might not have the concentration to read a book, however flicking through a magazine/ doing a puzzle passes the time. Also when you run out of things to talk to your visitors about as you have done nothing and all they have done is visit you for the last week or so, or you fall asleep they can also read them!!

    Extra items to consider
    • Take some soft tissues (the hospital ones are ok but not that soft after a while).
    • Take moisturiser especially hand moisturiser as it is dry in the hospital.
    • Pack layers, vest tops, short sleeve pyjamas and cardigans/ jumpers as it can be really warm on the wards.
    • Ear plugs & eye masks to block out noise and light at night.
    • Change for the car park when you get dropped off and for your relatives who might stay with you.

    Other Tips!
    • Side rooms are ok for a couple of days but can become isolating; at least on the ward you can see the comings and goings.
    • Take your medical folder- probably only relevant for other hospitals (not LGI).
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help (delegate walking the dog, housework etc)
    • Make sure your finances and paperwork are up to date ( you don’t want to worry about bills)

  • A nurse specialist will phone you at home in the week following discharge to check on your progress. You will be given a contact telephone number that you can call should you have any concerns in between discharge and follow-up. You will receive an appointment to see a surgeon 6 weeks after discharge and cardiologists at 3-4 months. At this meeting you can discuss issues such as returning to work or going on holiday.

    If you require any further information about your surgery please contact the Nurse Specialist on 0113 3928154 or

    You can get Information about the different operations here: