What can I expect before surgery?
Once your surgery is scheduled, the pre-admission testing nurse will contact you by phone to determine all necessary tests have been performed and provide you with preoperative instructions. They can also be contacted at (843) 965-8205. Depending on your surgery time you will be asked to arrive 1½ - 2 hours before your procedure.


What can I expect when I arrive at the hospital?
After valet parking in the front of Roper Hospital, you will be directed to the 7th floor of the Heart and Vascular Tower for admitting. Please have a photo ID and any insurance information available. At this point, your family may stay with you until the surgery time. During this time you will have the opportunity to meet your anesthesiologist and ask any final questions to your surgeon. Your family members will be asked for contact information so that the nurse can provide hourly updates by phone throughout your procedure.


Prior to your surgery, a fully qualified and specially trained operating room (OR) Registered Nurse will introduce her/ himself to you and review, once again, all the pertinent questions regarding your identity, your procedure and your history. We are aware that this seems repetitive, but it is essential that each individual involved in your care, verify this information.You will then be escorted to the pre-op area where a registered nurse will review your medical history, start your IV and complete any other pre-operative preparations.


What can I expect the day of surgery?
Your comfort and safety are our primary goals. Warm blankets are provided for the cool temperatures in the operating rooms. Someone will assist you with the move from the stretcher to the OR table. You will be introduced to the other essential support staff present in the room.
You can expect to see bright lights in the operating room and a lot of equipment open and ready on tables to begin your procedure. The nurse is present at your side as you are put to sleep by the  anesthesiologist.


At the conclusion of the procedure, you will be transported to the CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit) and a complete report will be provided to the nurse responsible for your care in the immediate post-operative period. Compression stockings that were applied in the holding area, will be inflated with air pressure. The stockings will continuously massage your legs during the procedure. Family may visit with you in ICU at this time. You will be asleep for several hours following surgery. When you are ready to leave the CVICU,  you will be transported to the 3rd floor of the Heart & Vascular Tower. 


What can I expect post-surgery?
You will spend the next three to five days on the 3rd floor of the Heart & Vascular Tower where the nurses are specially trained to meet your needs. On your first night we will carefully monitor your surgical sites and pay special attention to your comfort. IV’s and various tubes will be removed over the first two days. You will be able to eat and drink by the first day after surgery. You will be assisted to a chair the day after surgery and activity will be progressed daily. Staff will assist with coughing and deep breathing exercises.


The second day is spent much like your first day, but it is usually a bit easier to move around. The nursing staff will assist you with walking around in your room and sitting up in a chair for longer periods of time.


On the third day you will walk in the hall 3 times with rest periods in between. They will encourage you to be an active participant in your care since the more active you are, the better you feel. If all goes well, the next morning is often spent preparing to go home. Your doctors and nurses will assure that you have the items and knowledge you will need to care for yourself at home. They are also available by phone for questions.


When can I return to work?
This all depends on your postoperative recovery and is decided on an individual basis by your surgeon. The average time is 6-8 weeks for traditional surgeries. Minimally invasive valve patients return to work after 3-4 weeks on average.


How do I go about scheduling a follow up appointment?
On the day you are discharged from the hospital, you or a family member need to call our office at (843) 720-8490 to schedule your 3-week follow up appointment with your surgeon.