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What to Expect After Surgery

Pediatric Heart Care

What to Expect After Surgery

Contact Information

(608) 263-6420

(800) 323-8942

After surgery, your child will be moved to the American Family Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
 
In the PICU, we will monitor your child closely, using special equipment to help recovery. Here is some of the equipment you may see in the PICU:
  • A ventilator - This is a machine that helps your child breathe. It is connected to a small tube inserted into your child's trachea, the airway from the mouth to the lungs.
  • Intravenous (IV) catheters - These are small, plastic tubes placed though the skin into your child's blood vessels. They provide fluids and medications.
  • Arterial line - This is a special IV that measures your child's blood pressure.
  • Nasogastric tube - This is a small, plastic tube placed through your child's nose down to his or her stomach. It helps keep the stomach free of acid and gas bubbles.
  • Urinary catheter - This is a small, plastic tube that drains urine from the bladder. It also measures how much urine your child is producing, which can help determine how well his or her heart is functioning.
  • Chest tube - This is a small tube that helps drain blood from the chest after surgery.
  • Heart monitor - This is a machine that displays your child's heart rhythm, heart rate and blood pressure.
We will give your child pain medication to help him or her remain as comfortable as possible after surgery. Once your child is stable enough to leave the PICU, he or she will be moved to a private room.
 
Your child will remain in the hospital for a few days after surgery. The exact length of time your child needs to stay depends on the type of surgery and how well he or she is recovering.
 
Before your child is discharged, our staff will explain any medications your child needs to take after surgery. We will also instruct you on any activity limitations or required follow-up care.