Double Outlet Right Ventricle Surgery

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your caregiver may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

THE HOSPITAL STAY

The hospital stay after surgery can be difficult for the family as well as the patient. During the hospitalization, your child may have been on a breathing machine (ventilator) and attached to several monitors. Your child may have received many medicines through an intravenous (IV) access tube. It is likely that there were many needle sticks for blood tests, as well as a Foley catheter. Your child required pain medicine for the surgery and for the chest tubes. It may have been difficult for your child to eat, and your child may leave the hospital with a nasogastric tube or even a surgically placed feeding tube (G-tube) to help him or her receive all of the nutrition needed to recover.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

When you take your child home, you should be aware of:

  • Pain. Some pain is normal after surgery. You will be given prescription medicine to help with pain at home. Do not give over-the-counter pain medicine without calling your caregiver, as these may interact with other medicines your child is taking.

  • How to pick up your baby. If your child had a surgical cut (incision) through the breastbone (median sternotomy), you should not pick up your baby under the arms. An older child should not wear a backpack. The child should be scooped up under the bottom and behind the back. This allows the breastbone to heal.

  • Diet. Often a child will require nutrition supplements or extra calories to help recover from surgery. If your child is on a blood thinner, he or she may require a special diet.

  • Bathing. Your child should not have a bath that covers the chest for at least 1 week. You should use a sponge bath and use mild soap and water around the incision.

  • Vaccines. Your child should not have routine immunizations until at least 8 weeks after surgery.

Heart surgery can be emotionally stressful for your child. It is not uncommon for children to have nightmares or difficulty sleeping after surgery. The experience of having a child with heart surgery will be stressful for you as well. Parents often find comfort in relating to other parents who have been through the same experience. Ask your surgeon or cardiologist if they know of support groups or other families who would be willing to share their experiences with you.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your child develops a fever. Your child should never have a temperature higher than 100.4° F (38° C).

  • Your child has pain, redness, or oozing around the incision. These may be signs of infection.

  • Your child has bleeding.

  • Your child has difficulty feeding. This may include worsening fatigue or difficulty feeding from a bottle for more than 2 feedings.

  • You have difficulty arousing your child.

  • Your child's heart is beating too quickly or irregularly.

  • Your child passes out or faints.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.