Day of Congenital Heart Surgery
You should have received specific instructions for your child during the pre-operative work-up. Be sure to arrive promptly, trying to get there a few minutes before you are scheduled to arrive.

After you arrive at the hospital, go to the Pre-operative Admitting Area. Once admitted, your son/daughter will change into hospital pajamas. The anesthesiologist will speak with you before the surgery. Your child may be given medicine to help him/her relax.

A nurse from the Heart Care Team will accompany your child to the operating room. After your son/daughter has been taken to the operating room, please go to the designated parent waiting area. The surgeons will meet with you there after the operation.

The Heart Care Team
The Heart Care Team

Many people at your child’s hospital help to care for your son/daughter before, during, and after surgery. Here are a few of the team members you may meet:

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Heads the team that will perform your child’s heart surgery and also is your child’s attending doctor during the hospital stay.


Your child’s heart doctor or one of his/her partners will visit while your child is in the hospital. The cardiologist will continue to see your child, as needed, after the hospital stay.


This doctor is trained in the care of very sick children and will assist your surgeon in planning the care in the ICU after surgery.


A pediatrician who manages the care of children who are in the hospital.


A fully trained physician in heart surgery who is taking additional time to gain experience with pediatric heart surgery.


This doctor is responsible for administering and monitoring anesthesia (medicine that will temporarily make your child unconscious) during surgery. The anesthesiologist will check your child’s medical history, including any possible drug allergies, while visiting with you and your child prior to surgery.

Care Manager or Care Coordinator

A nurse who follows your child’s case in the hospital. This person is informed about every part of your child’s care. He/she will help prepare you and your child for discharge and arrange any care for your child at home after the surgery.

Nurse Practitioners

Specially trained nurses who will assist with your child’s care in both the ICU and post-surgery areas.

Nurse Coordinators

The person who will schedule your initial appointment with the surgeon.

Surgery Scheduler

The person who will set a date for the surgery. He/she also will get authorization for the operation from your insurance company. You will talk to the surgery scheduler several times before the surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with any member of your child’s Heart Surgery Care Team.

Reviewed by Lauren C. Kane, MD
June 2018

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

The STS mission is to advance cardiothoracic surgeons’ delivery of the highest quality patient care through collaboration, education, research, and advocacy.