The day of your cardiac surgery

Nurse talking to senior woman in hospital bed. She is measuring her blood pressure.

Important information for patients and families when visiting the hospital for cardiac surgery.

Title card of cardiac surgery guide video - Day of your surgery

This video has subtitles in multiple languages. Please click on the wheel icon (settings) at the bottom right of the video player, click “Subtitles,” and then choose from the list of languages.

Day of surgery checklist

  • Follow instructions for eating and drinking.
  • Take any medications as directed by the surgeon’s office or the Pre-Admission Clinic. Medications may be taken with a small sip of water.
  • Use the antiseptic agent again, following the instructions given to you.
  • Do not wear any make-up or jewelry of any kind.
  • Do not wear perfume, cologne or aftershave. VGH is a fragrance-free facility. Some people are highly allergic to fragrances and can suffer severe reactions.
  • Remove any religious or cultural items.
  • If you do not speak English, bring someone to assist you. If you need an interpreter, please tell the Pre-Admission Clinic or surgeon’s office prior to your admission.
  • Allow plenty of time for parking. Limited parking near the hospital is available. See below for more information. 
  • When you arrive, go to the Main Admitting Department (located by the Main Entrance and Information Desk, Level 1 Jim Pattison Pavilion South) to check in/register.
  • After registration, go to the Perioperative Care Centre to get ready for surgery (Level 2, Jim Pattison Pavilion North).

Don't bring:

  • Large sums of money or credit cards. Note, TV or phone service is available for rental. Payments are due at connection time. Pay-by-phone is also available.
  • Valuables such as electronics or jewelry. Rings and watches you usually wear should be left at home. VCH cannot be held responsible for any lost or stolen items. In emergencies, VCH hospitals can store some small valuables for a short time. Ask the Admitting Department or your nurse.

Arriving at the hospital

Where to park (pay parking)

  • Across from the main entrance of the Jim Pattison Pavilion is a multi-level parkade at the corner of W 12th Ave. and Laurel St.
  • The Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre underground parking lot is located off Laurel St. between W 12th and W 10th Ave.
  • Laurel St. has limited street meter parking.
  • There is a wheelchair-accessible overpass from the VGH parkade at Level 4 and a crosswalk at Level 2.
  • Additional parking is available at City Square Shopping Centre adjacent to Banfield Pavilion.

Plan your visit to Vancouver General Hospital

What happens next?

On the day of your surgery, you will travel to the hospital and check in at the hospital's Admitting Department. Once registered, you will be taken to the Perioperative Care Centre to prepare for your surgery.

In the Perioperative Care Centre

  • You can keep your glasses on, hearing aid(s), cochlear implant, Invisalign, and dentures in until we ask you to take them out. 
  • You will meet with the cardiac anesthesiologist, who will take care of you while you sleep through the surgery. 
  • You will meet your surgeons and any residents or medical students who may be involved in your care under the supervision of the attending physician. 
  • You will be asked some of the same questions you have already answered — this is an extra safety check. 
  • Your care team will place blood pressure cuffs and monitors and insert an intravenous line (IV) into your arm. 
  • You will be given medications to help prepare you for your surgery. 
  • You may be asked to wash again with antiseptic wipes and then change into a hospital gown. 
  • You may receive a treatment to reduce bacteria in your nose. 

You will be taken from the Perioperative Care Centre directly to the operating room about an hour before your surgery for preparation.  

  • Your surgery will take four to six hours.  
  • When your surgery is over, you will be moved from the Operating Room to the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU). 

Information for families/support people

  • Please appoint one family member or support person to call for updates. Leave a phone number where the surgeon can reach them.
  • Please refer to site-specific visitation guidelines regarding visitation times and restrictions.  
  • Once in surgery, family/support people may leave the hospital, or they can wait at the hospital.
  • At the hospital, family/support people may wait in the following places:
  • If family/support people have not heard from the surgeon at the expected time, they may call the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit at (604) 875-4277 for updates. If using an in-hospital phone, dial extension 54277.
  • Please be available at least 60 minutes before the surgery is scheduled to be finished, even if you would like to be called for an update. 


    • Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit

      If using an in-hospital phone, dial extension 54277.

    • Jim Pattison and Leon Judah Blackmore Pavilion map

    • VCH acute care parking lot locations

    • Public parking rates for VCH sites

Your surgical journey

The day before your cardiac surgery

Your recovery in hospital after cardiac surgery

Your recovery in hospital after cardiac surgery: activity and exercise

Your recovery in hospital after cardiac surgery: what to expect each day

Going home from the hospital after cardiac surgery

Your recovery at home after cardiac surgery

Your recovery at home after cardiac surgery: activity and exercise

Adjusting to life after cardiac surgery

Waiting for your cardiac surgery

Preparing for your cardiac surgery and recovery

Your heart and how it works

Learn more about your heart surgery