Post-Surgical Heart Care

Throughout post-operative coronary care and cardiac rehabilitation at John C. Lincoln Hospitals, our patients have access to state-of-the-art medical technologies and top-quality, highly specialized nursing care. After heart surgery or a nonsurgical heart procedure, patients may experience care in these units:

Critical Care

Critical-care units are designed to treat patients with the most serious heart conditions. John C. Lincoln offers two:

  • Deer Valley Hospital's Critical Care Unit (CCU) is a 32-bed unit located on the 2nd floor of Pavilion 2. The unit was designed with input from our nurses. Nurse work areas are situated directly outside of the patient rooms, so that each patient's nurse is just a few steps away.
  • North Mountain Hospital's Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) is a 22-bed unit located on the hospital's 2nd floor.
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Both critical care units care for surgical and non-surgical heart patients. After undergoing open heart surgery, patients are brought directly to the CCU or CVICU to begin their recovery. Patients may also be admitted to these units after experiencing a heart attack or another major heart condition that doesn't require surgery.

Nurses in these units have specialized training in cardiac care, including advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), balloon pump care and open heart care. Each unit has a dedicated nurse educator who provides ongoing training on the most current clinical procedures and protocols.

Low nurse-to-patient ratios at these units ensure that our patients receive the care and attention they deserve. For patients who are on ventilators after surgery, or are unstable, that ratio is one to one. For stable patients not on a ventilator, the ratio is one nurse for every two patients.

Patients stay in the CCU or CVICU for an average of three to four days. From there, they are transferred to our Progressive Cardiac Care Units.

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Progressive Cardiac Care

The hospitals' Progressive Cardiac Care Units (PCCU) serve heart patients who are stable and improving, but still require specialized care.

  • Deer Valley Hospital PCCU is a 30-bed unit located on the 3rd floor of the hospital's Pavilion 2.
  • North Mountain Hospital PCCU is a 20-bed unit located on the hospital's 2nd floor.

Some patients come to progressive cardiac care after spending three or four days in the CCU or CVICU, recovering from surgery. Others are brought directly to PCCU for a variety of cardiac-related reasons, including heart attack, a cardiac catheterization procedure or complications from heart failure.

Depending on patients' circumstances, nurse-to-patient ratios in these units are one to three, or one to four.

Patients typically stay in PCCU for three to four days. From there, they may be transferred to a Telemetry unit or discharged from the hospital.

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Telemetry units provide around-the-clock monitoring of heart care patients following surgery. Most patients stay on the unit for three to four days.

  • Deer Valley Hospital Telemetry is located on the 4th floor of Pavilion 1.
  • North Mountain Hospital Telemetry is located on the 5th and 6th floors.

Patients may be admitted to Telemetry for a variety of reasons, including heart failure, arrhythmias and heart attack.

In some cases, patients may be admitted to Telemetry for heart monitoring even though their main illness is not heart-related. For example, patients suffering from kidney failure may require monitoring because their potassium levels can become abnormally high, which can lead to heart failure.

To monitor heart rhythm, pads are placed on both of a patient's shoulders and on either side of the rib cage. These pads are attached to wires that connect to a box, which transmits data to the monitoring system. At the nurses' station, a technician continuously watches the monitors for any change in heart rhythm.

Once able to stand, patients may begin cardiac rehabilitation.

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Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation, also called cardiac rehab, is an important part of the process for patients recovering from a heart problem. Cardiac rehab has three phases.

Cardiac Rehab In-Depth

Learn more about outpatient cardiac rehab at Deer Valley and North Mountain hospitals.

Phase 1 of cardiac rehab begins while the patient is still in the hospital, once he or she is able to stand. Because muscles can atrophy quickly if they're not used, it's important to get moving as soon as possible. A nurse or patient care technician accompanies the patient on short walks, which build strength as well as prevent lung problems and pneumonia.

Phases 2 and 3 of cardiac rehab focus on simple lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of future heart problems. During these phases, patients continue to regain strength and progress in their exercise programs. They also learn important information about nutrition and how to eat to keep their hearts healthy. This takes place on an outpatient basis at both John C. Lincoln hospital campuses.

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