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Preparing for Pediatric Heart Surgery


You will receive pre-surgery instructions from your physician. Please follow all directions carefully.

When you arrive at the Children’s Hospital, you will park in the lower levels of the Children’s Hospital Building at 7th and Division (see Driving Directions in the booklet). Take the elevator to the L-1 level and follow the signs to the Pediatric Surgery Center.

Pre-Surgery Preparation

The Pediatric Surgery Center is staffed by pediatric surgeons, child life specialists and specially trained pediatric nurses and anesthesiologists. All possess skills in responding to the special needs of their young patients and families. The Center has a pre-surgery preparation room designed to take the fear and uncertainty out of surgery. A child life specialist familiarizes the child (and parents) with a surgical hat and mask, and provides appropriate, pre-operative teaching so the child knows what to expect. The anesthesiologist and pediatric cardiac surgeon talk with the parents and answer any questions they may have. Parents may stay with their child right up until time for surgery.

Parent Waiting Areas

There are waiting areas conveniently located within the Pediatric Surgery Center. Your child’s physician will come talk with you after the surgery is completed.

After Surgery

Following surgery, your child will be admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on the third floor of the main medical center tower. You will be able to join your child soon after his or her arrival on the unit. Children are more comfortable when parents are closeby, and parents are more relaxed knowing they will be reunited with their child soon after surgery. Family members may remain in the room with their child. Visiting hours for friends are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Please assure that all visitors are in good health and that visiting children are accompanied by an adult at all times.

Your Child’s PICU Care Team

Your child will be cared for by an impressive team of health care professionals. In addition to your child’s pediatric cardiac surgeon and pediatric cardiologist, the PICU is staffed, around the clock, by pediatric critical care physicians, registered nurses, respiratory therapists and pediatric pharmacists. Child life specialists provide emotional support to children who are undergoing treatment at the children’s hospital. They are experts in child development, who promote effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities.