After you have had heart surgery, you will be moved to our cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVIVU). There you will receive critical care and advanced hemodynamic monitoring. Specialized nurses will stay by your bedside and tend to your needs.

Most patients will stay in the CVICU for 12 to 24 hours after surgery. During this time, you will likely need the help of different types of equipment:

Endotracheal Tube and Ventilator

Initially, you may have a tube that passed through your nose and mouth and into your windpipe (trachea). This is attached to a ventilator that helps you breathe until you are able to do so on your own. Most patients come off the ventilator within one to six hours after the surgery, but every patient is different. Your team will determine what is right for you.

Heart Monitor

While in the CVICU, you will have five leads on your chest that continuously send information to an electrocardiogram (EKG). Your EKG will be monitored throughout your stay in the CVICU.

Intravenous Lines

IVs will help physicians and nurses deliver fluids, medications, and blood directly into your body.


Immediately following surgery, you’ll have a catheter that will drain urine from your bladder. This is usually removed while you are in the CVICU.

Pacing Wires

You will likely have these wires placed on your heart during surgery. These help increase your heart rate if needed, and they will be removed before you are discharged.

Mediastinal Tubes

These tubes are inserted into your chest during surgery, and they help drain blood and fluid from your chest. These are usually removed within three days of your surgery.

While you are in the CVICU, your immediate family will be allowed to visit, and we welcome their questions. However, they are urged to remember that you need rest. There may also be times when they will be asked to step out of the room if you require certain treatments and attention.

Our cardiovascular step-down unit (CVSD) is a monitoring unit that provides care for patients who no longer need intensive care. The physicians, nurses, and support staff in this unit are specifically trained in critical care.

During your time in the CVSD, you will be closely monitored through the use of EKGs as well as telemetry. Telemetry monitoring involves the use of a battery-operated unit that continuously reads your heart rhythm.

You will receive comprehensive care not only from your physicians and nurses but also from case managers, monitor technologists, social workers, and pharmacists. Our team members work together to protect your health 24 hours a day.

Your immediate family is welcome to visit you while you are in the CVSD. We understand your need to have your loved ones close by, and we encourage them to offer you support, as well as allow you time to rest.

Patients in the cardiovascular progressive care unit (CPCU) are closely monitored by highly skilled nurses and other medical personnel.

Careful observation of your condition remains critical after your procedure, and you can count on our team to give you the attention you require.

During your time in the CPCU, you will slowly begin your rehabilitation. Our staff will assess your activity level and gradually help you progress. You will also receive education that will help you understand how to resume the normal activities of your daily life. Our rehabilitation experts will begin talking with you about lifestyle modifications you will need to make so you can regain your health.

Your family members are welcome to visit you in the CPCU, and we encourage them to offer you support. Recovering from heart surgery is a process, and we hope your loved ones will be there to assist you every step of the way.

The Cardiac and Vascular Intervention Unit (CVU) is a facility that offers telemetry monitoring. Most patients in the unit have undergone interventional procedures, such as catheterization and percutaneous coronary intervention.

f you are being cared for the CVU, you can count on being closely monitored. Your stay in the unit will likely be only several hours, and we welcome your family members to visit and support you.