What happens when I have been referred?

You will be referred to the cardiothoracic service by your local cardiologist, respiratory physician, gastroenterologist or oncologist.

When we receive your referral, in most cases you will be booked in to see a surgeon in the outpatient clinic. This is either in Hull or in a satellite clinic in York, Scunthorpe, Scarborough or Grimsby.

Discussion with a surgeon

The surgeon will discuss with you the option of surgery and the benefits surgery could give you. They will also discuss the risks of the planned operation. The surgeon may ask an anaesthetist to see you in a separate clinic; this is to assess your anaesthetic risk for the planned surgery but not all patients need this assessment.

If you are having valve surgery; you will need to visit the dentist no longer than 6 months before your surgery. If dental treatment is required, this must be completed prior to your operation therefore it is important to visit the dentist if know you are being referred for valve or aortic surgery.

Preadmission clinic

When your name is added to the waiting list, you will be invited to a preadmission clinic. At this clinic you will see a nurse who will ask you some questions and take blood samples, perform an electrocardiogram (a heart tracing) and a chest X-ray.

Swabs

Swabs will be taken from your nose, under your arms and your groin. These swabs are sent to the microbiology lab to test for MRSA and/or MSSA (depending on the surgery you are having). MSSA refers to methicillin sensitive staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria that can commonly be found on the skin or inside the respiratory passage. It does not cause a problem until the skin is opened during the operation when is can develop into an infection.

The results of all of your tests are reviewed by the preadmission team. Any abnormal results are flagged to the surgeon. Sometimes treatment requests need to be sent to your GP for action. Any abnormal results or GP requests will be followed up by the preadmission team.

If you are positive for MRSA or MSSA the preadmission team will contact you; a treatment request will be sent to your GP for ointments. You will receive a nasal ointment and a skin wash. These are to be used as directed by the pharmacy in conjunction with instructions from the preadmission team. You may need to have further swabs taken prior to your admission but this depends on the type of surgery you will be having; the preadmission team will direct you.

Admission and operation date

Each surgeon plans their own operating schedule therefore once scheduled, the cardiothoracic secretarial team will contact you via letter with your planned admission and operation date. Usually admission is the day prior to your operation. Sometimes the secretarial staff may call you with an admission date at short notice.