Cardiac surgery information for patients

Surgery to treat your heart condition

This page is for patients who have been recommended by their cardiologist (heart doctor) to have heart surgery. Your cardiologist should have talked to you about the alternatives to surgery and why we believe this is the best option for you.

If you haven't recieved an appointment yet or to change/cancel your appointment please contact the patient pathway co-ordinator on 020 7188 1044 or email gst-tr.cardiacsurgeryappointments@nhs.net.

Your operation date

After your first appointment with the surgeon, you will be placed on the waiting list. Your surgeon will tell you roughly how long the waiting list is. The cardiac surgery admissions coordinator will contact you once all your investigations have been collated and a provisional date has been arranged. There should be at least a week's notice prior to admission. If there is a date or period of time that is inconvenient for you, please let us know by contacting our admissions coordinator on 020 7188 3894.

What to do if your symptoms change

If your condition worsens, please see your GP. If you have sudden problems, call 999.

Pre-admission clinic

This clinic aims to prepare you for your operation - both emotionally and physically. You will meet members of the surgical team and have some important tests. You may be in the clinic for four to five hours, or possibly longer if special tests are needed.

Please bring a list of all current medications to your appointment. For new patients we advise that they are accompanied by a friend or relative, but this is not essential.

All patients will have:

  • blood tests
  • an electrocardiogram (ECG), which records the electrical activity of the heart
  • a chest x-ray
  • swabs taken for methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Some patients will also have an echocardiogram (an ultrasound scan that checks how your heart is pumping).

Members of the team will also talk to you about things to plan beforehand, such as how much time off work you will need, your recovery and how to get home after your surgery.

Your surgery

We will explain to you what will happen for your operation and your recovery on the ward. We will also talk you through the possible complications. It is important you understand the treatment you are agreeing to, so please ask questions if you are unsure. You will also be given information about what to do when you are leaving hospital.

If you would like more information, please see our Having heart surgery booklet (PDF 220Kb).

Your follow-up appointment

We will give you an appointment about six to eight weeks after your operation to see a doctor from your surgeon's team. The doctor will check that you are making a good recovery and will deal with any problems you are having.

Your long-term medical follow-up will be arranged closer to home for you, either by your consultant or GP.

Cardiac rehabilitation programme

You will be invited to attend a cardiac rehabilitation centre at your local centre. This aims to help you to return to normal life and health after your surgery.

Please contact our cardiac rehabilitation team on 020 7188 0946 if you haven't heard from your local team within a month of being discharged from our care.

Useful links