What To Expect The Day Of Heart Surgery

As a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist, I often meet patients who have wrapped their head around the fact that they are getting surgery, but they have a lot of fear about the anesthesia, cardiopulmonary bypass, and what to expect post-operatively in the ICU. So much of fear/anxiety is driven by the fact that patients don’t know what the actual sequence of the day will be, and by virtue of that, if things are going according to plan with each poke, alarm, etc. It’s my job to not only ensure their safety, but to paint the picture of how the day will go.

Besides the pre-induction process (pre-op arterial line, surgical timeout, connecting monitors, etc.), I draw on my ICU training to explain much of the post-operative course to families and caretakers (ie, it’s NORMAL to come out of the OR with chest tubes, a Foley, central line, PA catheter, and mechanical ventilation in many instances).

We take for granted this “process” because we do it every single day. It’s important to remember that patients do NOT usually have this same insight, and we should be justifying everything that we do. For me, much of this centers around having the necessary equipment to keep my patients safe!

Check out my YouTube video below regarding this topic, and drop me a comment with what you think!

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