Heart Transplant Surgery
Once you have been called in for your heart transplant surgery, it is important for you to have this day planned out ahead of time. How will you get to the hospital? Where do you go? What do you bring?
When you get the call for your transplant, you need to arrive at Admitting on the 9th floor of OHSU. You will then go to a pre-op floor where the nurses and doctors will prepare you for the surgery. The time before the surgery is very busy. A resident, intern, or physician assistant will perform a physical examination and take a complete history. You will need to bring a complete list of all your medications. At this time you will be asked to sign one or more consent forms giving your permission to the surgeons to perform the surgery.
The nurses will start an intravenous line (IV) for antibiotics to prevent infection. When it is time, the nurses will take you to the operating room. Once you are placed under anesthesia, the transplant team goes to work. The average length of time for a heart transplant is 5-6 hours depending on previous heart surgery or if you have a left ventricular assist device in place. The length of time does not predict the success of the surgery. When the surgery is complete, the surgeons close your incision. After the incision is closed and you are stable, you will be taken back to the CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit).
While you are in surgery, your family and friends can wait in the intensive care waiting area. The operating room nurses may come out during the surgery to give you a progress report. It's helpful to identify one spokesperson when communicating to the nursing staff, who will then pass along information to family and friends.