In Hospital

Your arrival
You will be admitted to hospital the afternoon before your operation. At this stage any tests which have not been completed prior to your admission will be done e.g. chest x-ray, ECG. During this time your surgeon and nursing staff will be on hand to discuss any further questions youhave. You will also be seen by the anaesthetist and a physiotherapist.

The operation
The operation normally takes between two and three hours. An incision is made from the lower end of the sternum or breastbone down to the navel to allow the operation to be performed.

You will have an epidural catheter placed in your back to allow for continuous pain relief for the first four days after surgery. This will ensure youare kept as pain-free as possible and allows for early mobilisation. All patients are removed from bed and mobilised four hours after the procedure.

To aid in your rehabilitation, and to avoid complications, our nurses and physiotherapist will go through deep breathing exercises, coughing and leg movements with you.


You will usually be permitted to suck ice the first day after the operation and will begin drinking small amounts of water on the second day. Intakewill be increased slowly until your intravenous drip is removed on the fourth or fifth day after surgery.


Once you can tolerate a regular amount of water and your drip has been removed, you will be allowed a variety of alternative fluids such as clear soup,tea, coffee, cordial or juice. When you can tolerate all these fluids without difficulty (usually the fourth or fifth day after surgery) you will have your first meal. This will involve a few teaspoons of soft semi-solid food such as soup, scrambled eggs, mashed potato, custard, jelly, porridgeor stewed fruit.



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