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Heart Surgery Patient Guide

Your Surgery Team

Preoperative Visit

Before your actual surgery, you will visit with your surgery team members. You will watch a video that talks about your surgery and what to expect on the day of surgery. You also will receive a Patient Handbook that has education materials needed before surgery, during your hospital stay and when you return home. Bring this handbook on the day of surgery and keep it with you while you are in the hospital.

Your Surgery Team

Heart surgery team.

Each person involved in your surgery plays a vital role. Your surgeon and his or her assistants perform the surgery. Several specially trained nurses support them. The anesthesiologist constantly monitors your anesthesia to help you sleep without pain. The perfusionist operates the heart-lung machine (if one is needed) that keeps your blood flowing. Your blood pressure, temperature, and breathing are constantly monitored during the surgery.

Your Surgical Team includes:

  • Surgeon
  • Assistant Surgeons
  • Cardiologist
  • Surgical Nurse
  • Perfusionist
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Scrub Tech or Nurse


Every attempt is made for you to meet your surgeon on the day of your preoperative visit. If that is not possible, we will schedule a more convenient time for you to meet and discuss your operation.


During your visit, you will meet with your cardiologist, who will perform a preoperative physical exam, answer your questions and review your medications. Your cardiologist will order the appropriate tests and review screening tests. These may include cardiac catheterization, echocardiography, electrocardiography, chest X-ray, routine bloodwork and urinalysis. Your cardiologist will monitor your care throughout your hospital stay and will oversee your discharge.

Surgical Nurse

You will also meet your surgical nurse, who works under your surgeon's supervision. Your nurse will perform a limited exam, review your lab data, provide instructions for your surgery and schedule your arrival time on the day of surgery.


During surgery, your perfusionist operates medical equipment, including the heart-lung machine and cell saver machine, making sure that all the equipment are running smoothly. Throughout your surgery, your perfusionist will manage your lungs and the flow of your blood using the heart-lung machine.


During your preoperative visit, your will meet your anesthesiologist, who is specially trained to give you anesthesia. Anesthesia keeps you asleep and free of pain during surgery.

Scrub Tech or Nurse

Right before your surgery, your scrub tech or nurse will prepare the operating room's sterile area, surgical instruments and equipment. During your surgery, your scrub tech or nurse will be next to you, assisting the surgeons by passing instruments and making sure that everything goes smoothly.


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