Immediately after the heart transplant surgery at Lurie Children’s, your child will be taken to the cardiac intensive care unit (Regenstein CCU). You may go to your child’s room approximately one hour after your child arrives in the Regenstein CCU.
Several IVs, chest and mouth breathing tubes will be inserted. The breathing tube will stay until your child is strong and awake enough to breathe on their own. After the tubes are removed, normal eating and drinking will be possible. IV medications will be changed to oral doses after normal eating and drinking begins.
A Regenstein CCU nurse will explain the monitors and tubes, and the medication given to your child. Pain medication and sedation is given to help with comfort.
While in the Regenstein CCU
A typical stay in the Regenstein CCU is at least 2 weeks, until your child is ready to leave the hospital.
Your child will have a nurse that is constantly monitoring them. The nurses will encourage you to participate in your child's care as much as you feel comfortable with.
Visiting hours for healthy parents/guardians are seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Due to the amount of equipment and limited space, we ask that only two people be at the bedside at any one time. Anyone who has been exposed to communicable diseases or who is ill (colds, flu, etc.) cannot visit the CCU.
Protection from Infections
Your child will be in a special isolation room to protect them from infection throughout their stay in the hospital. Before you enter their room, you will be asked to wash your hands, wear a mask, gown, hat and gloves. Hand washing is the most important way to protect your child from infection after surgery.
Getting Ready for Discharge
During their stay in the CCU, any remaining tubes and IVs will be removed. They will begin to walk about the room and participate in activities to increase their strength with the help of a physical therapist. The nurses on the floor and the transplant team will get your family ready to go home. With their help, you will learn how to take care of your child at home. After discharge from the hospital, families will stay at the Ronald McDonald House Near Lurie Children's for 2-4 weeks to get acclimated to life outside of the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House is located five blocks south of Lurie Children’s and has two dedicated transplant floors.