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Children's Heart Center

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Day of Surgery

On the day of your child's scheduled surgery, please arrive at the hospital two hours prior to the surgery start time.

What to bring

Please bring clothing and personal care items for yourself and your child if you will not be returning home until after surgery.  Recommended: Button-front pajamas, slippers, robe for older children, clothes for patient to wear home.

It is also recommended that you bring any special comfort item for your child such as a small toy, pillow or stuffed animal.  For older children, they may benefit from having an mp3 player, iPod, or other electronic device.  Wireless internet access is available throughout the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Campus.

Where to park

You may valet park at the main Memorial Hermann Hospital entrance off Fannin Street. The first 24 hours of your hospital stay will be validated.  After that, you will incur a fee of up to $15 per day. Garage parking is also available in Garage 4, located at the end of entrance 18 off of Fannin Street.

Where to go

You and your child will need to check in  at the Children's Surgery Registration and Waiting Area on the 2nd floor of the Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital (CMHH).  They will be expecting you and will have the necessary information for your child's surgery.  A staff member will escort you to the Pre-op Holding area of the Surgery Department and show you where to wait with your child before they are taken back to the operating room.

During Surgery

Once your child is taken into surgery, please go to the pediatric surgery waiting room on the 2nd floor of Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.  A nurse coordinator will give you periodic updates (about every hour or hour and a half) on how your child is doing and where we are in the procedure. 

When the surgery is finished, the surgeon and a nurse coordinator will come speak to you in the waiting area.  You will have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.  Your child will go directly to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) from the operating room for recovery.  It will be approximately two hours before you can visit your child in the PICU.

Care in the Pediatric ICU

All of our patients are recovered in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), which is located on the 9th floor.  After your child leaves the operating room, it will take approximately 2 hours until you will be able to see your child in the PICU.  During this time, your child will receive a chest X-ray, have necessary lab tests taken and will be monitored by the nurses and doctors in the PICU.

When you see your child for the first time in the PICU, the environment can be overwhelming.  Most likely, your child will be in a private room with one nurse whose job is to solely focus on your child's recovery.

Like most intensive care units, there is a large team involved with the care of heart surgery patients in the PICU. The team members include:

  • Pediatric cardiac surgery: The pediatric cardiac surgeons follow the patients very closely, and one of them is available 24/7 for your child. In addition, the pediatric cardiac surgery nurse coordinator and the pediatric cardiac surgery physician assistant are frequently present to assist and coordinate the care of your child.
  • Pediatric cardiology: Pediatric cardiologists are physicians who have completed training in pediatrics and then further training in pediatric heart diseases. The pediatric cardiology attendings have completed all of their training. Pediatric cardiology fellows have already completed their training in pediatrics and are in the process of training in heart diseases. Both pediatric cardiology attendings and fellows are involved in the care of patients after heart surgery. A pediatric cardiology fellow is in the hospital 24/7.
  • Pediatric critical care: Pediatric critical care physicians (also called intensivists) are physicians who have completed training in pediatrics and then further training in the care of pediatric patients in intensive care units. Pediatric critical care attendings and fellows are an integral part of the care of patients after heart surgery, and both are in the hospital 24/7.
  • Pediatric critical care nursing: Nurses with trained experience in intensive care nursing take care of patients immediately after surgery. Typically, the patients get their own nurse (1:1 patient:nurse ratio) initially after surgery. Depending on the surgery and the patient's course, the ratio is eventually reduced to 2:1 or 3:1. Nurses typically work 12-hour shifts.
  • Other Pediatric ICU staff: There are other staff members who play important roles in the care of patients after heart surgery. Respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, child life specialists, and others are all visible and have important duties in the intensive care unit.

Families should feel free to ask about the people involved in the care of their children in the intensive care unit.

Your child may have the following monitoring devices in place:

  • Central line
  • Arterial line
  • Endotracheal breathing tube
  • Temporary pacing wires
  • Chest tube / drainage tube
  • Foley catheter
  • NIRS monitor
  • Cardiorespiratory monitoring

Equipment that you will see in the room:

  • Ventilator
  • Bedside monitor
  • IV pumps and syringe pumps
  • Bair hugger
  • Pacemaker

Contact Us

Pediatric Cardiology Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 370
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (832) 325-6516

Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 950
Houston, TX 77030

Clinic Phone: (832) 325-7234
Nurse Line: (713) 500-7324