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Cardiothoracic Surgery Intensive Care Unit

After cardiac bypass surgery or other heart-related procedure, many patients benefit from the compassionate and expert care delivered by the staff in WakeMed’s Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. (CTSICU). This highly specialized team carefully monitors and treats patients who have undergone complex cardiothoracic surgeries. Our CTSICU was one of the first in the region and has been recognized nationally for its commitment to excellence. Each year, more than 600 patients from across our region are admitted to this dedicated unit after having procedures such as:

  • Open Mitral valve replacements & mitral valve repairs
  • Open Aortic valve replacements & aortic valve repairs
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (Transapical & Transfemoral TAVRs)
  • Aortic aneurysm repairs
  • Both off pump and on pump coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation; MAZE, Left atrial appendage ligation and convergent procedure
  • Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR)
  • Induced Hypothermia

Collaborative, dynamic and patient-centered medical team

Patients admitted to CTSICU are often recovering from a difficult surgery and are concerned about their recovery. Our strong nursing team, seasoned support staff and physicians work with patients and families to educate them about the patient’s plan of care. Our 40 specialty trained critical care nurses are joined by a dedicated medical team that includes medical intensivists, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, clinician dieticians, case managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, clinical pharmacists, respiratory care providers, endocrinologists and many more as needed so that patients have the best chance for recovery.

The 12-bed unit (10 are open cubicles and two enclosed rooms) focuses on individualized care during each patient’s stay. Patients are engaged in decision making and are encouraged to have a support person stay with them. The unit has open visitation so that a family member can always participate in their loved one’s care.

The latest in advanced cardiac monitoring offers enhanced safety 

Our unit is equipped to provide the highest level of cardiac monitoring. This helps our team check for any subtle changes in a patient’s status so that they can intervene and provide immediate treatment. Our state-of-the-art ICU includes:

  • Atrial ECG monitoring
  • Continuous invasive and non-invasive arterial pressure monitoring
  • Oximetric pulmonary artery monitoring
  • Cardiac output monitoring
  • Hemodynamic pressure monitoring
  • Atrial overriding pacemaker
  • Temporary atrial, ventricular or A-V sequential pacemakers
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump support
  • Ventricular Assist Device Support
  • Defibrillator and external pacemaker
  • Transport monitors
  • Ventilatory monitoring/weaning
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • Continuous inspired oxygen monitoring

Most patients stay in the unit for about 24 hours, giving them time to stabilize before transferring to our Cardiovascular Surgery Intermediate Care Unit, located on the third floor. This unit also has advanced monitoring capabilities.

While patients are in our CTSICU, families and loved ones have access to our comfortable and spacious Critical Care & Surgery Waiting Room, located on the second floor, adjacent to all of our intensive care units. Open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, our CCSWR is a warm and supportive place to wait while your loved ones is hospitalized.

Our CTSICU offers cardiac and patients who need more focused heart monitoring a special unit that is committed to patients and their families. From the moment a patient is admitted to the unit, our team is at their bedside, providing comforting, healing care.