What happens when I come in?

Preparing for your surgery

Our outpatient clinics are designed to prepare you for surgery in one visit, and will involve investigations and information tailored to you. Unfortunately this may mean that your appointment could last a few hours. 

During your appointment you will meet one of our surgeons, who will explain your condition and the proposed surgery. Some of the tests you may have include:

  • an x-ray to look at your lungs
  • an ECG to analyse your heart rhythm
  • breathing tests to assess how well your lungs are working
  • a transthoracic echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound to look at the structure and function of your heart
  • blood tests and swabs.

A nurse practitioner and nurse case manager will take your medical history, and answer any questions you have such as when the operation might be and how much time it will take to recover.

If you're accepted for surgery, after your pre-assessment your name will be added to the surgical waiting list. We aim to give you a date for surgery within 18 weeks of referral. If your operation is urgent, we aim to admit you within eight weeks of attending the outpatient clinic.


If you require heart valve surgery, a dental assessment is needed to ensure that you are in good dental health. This is important as bacteria around your teeth can cause infections in your heart.

Coming in for surgery

You'll need to come into hospital the day before your operation so that we can prepare you for your surgery. On arrival you'll see a member of the nurse practitioner team, who'll start the preparations, before you meet the surgical team and anaesthetist responsible for your operation.

After we've completed your pre-operation preparation you'll be able to return home for the evening (if you live locally) or you'll stay in Heartbeat House.

The next morning you'll return to the hospital and visit our surgical day unit to be prepared for your surgery. 

Sometimes we require patients to stay on one of our wards the night before their operation, but we'll let you know in advance if this is necessary.

More information

Find our more about preparing for surgery, what happens when you come in to hospital, and the recovery process in our cardiac surgery patient information booklet.