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The Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

  • When you wake up following your operation you will be in the ICU. You will stay in this area or in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) until you are well enough to return to Medical Ward 3. The average stay is 1 or 2 nights. Immediate family will be able to visit you in the Intensive Care area.
  • When you wake up after your surgery you will be drowsy and have:
  • Breathing Tube in your mouth into the back of your throat to help you breathe while asleep from the anaesthetic. You will not be able to talk, eat or drink with this tube in place.
  • Several IV’s or drips, giving you medication including pain relief.
  • A catheter in the bladder, which sometimes gives the feeling of needing “to go” to the toilet constantly
  • Several wound drains in the lower half of your chest
  • Heart monitor.

All of these tubes, lines and equipment will be removed in the first 24 – 48 hours or as appropriate.

  • It is normal that you will gain some extra fluid following surgery. Swelling may be noticeable in your hands and feet. This is temporary. This may increase your weight by up to 10 kgs but 3 to 5 kg is the norm.
  • THE PHYSIOTHERAPIST will visit you in the Intensive Care Unit. You will start on your breathing and limb exercises soon after you wake up.
  • DIET:- It is normal not to feel like eating very much following your operation. You will be started on water and fluids first, and then may progress to light foods and a meal within a day or so. Some people say that food tastes a little differently for a short while. This will all return to normal. You will be asked to select your meals from a healthy heart menu ie. low salt, low fat. If you are diabetic or have any other special diet requirements please tell the staff.