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The Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit

Having major surgery can be stressful for patients and their loved ones. This page will answer some common questions you may have. We understand that you may have other questions, so please feel free to ask for our help. We are here to put you at ease. We are confident you will find every staff member to be highly skilled and professional. Our team of surgeons are also affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation which gives us access to the latest innovations in cardiac care.

Key Points For The Day Of Surgery

• The surgeon will contact family members by phone immediately after surgery.

• Please designate a family spokesperson before surgery.

• The average hospital stay is 3-4 days after surgery.

4400 (Step-down) Unit

Patients will be sent to surgery from 4400 which is the cardiothoracic step-down unit. Following surgery and a brief stay in CTICU patients transfer back to 4400 to begin the first phase of cardiac rehab.

4400 Visiting Hours

Visiting hours on 4400 are from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. We ask that family members do not spend the night. Both family and patients need restful nights to promote a speedy recovery.

Televisions and Phones

Each patient room has FREE phone and television service.

4400 Staff

The 4400 team consists of Registered Nurses and Technicians that provide the highest quality care.  Nurse Practitioners and Physician's Assistants are also there to help Surgeons direct patient care.

Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Units

The Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) is a state-of-the-art 12 bed critical care unit that cares for patients during the time immediately after open heart or chest surgery.  In this unit, patients are closely monitored and receive frequent tests and assessments.

CTICU Waiting Room

CTICU waiting room is located on the second floor close adjacent to unit. A volunteer is available during the day in the waiting room to offer information and assistance to families.

CTICU Visiting Policy

Only two family members may visit at one time.  Visitors 14 years of age and older are welcome to visit. Before entering the CTICU, please check with the volunteer on duty in the CTICU waiting room.  If a volunteer is not present, please use the phone located on the desk in the waiting room to determine if the patient can have a visitor.

Checking On The Patient In CTICU After Visiting Hours

In addition to our normal visiting hours, we provide call-in hours from 10:30 pm - 8:30 am. Please have the designated spokesperson call the operator at (585) 922-4000 and the switchboard will connect them with CTICU for an updated progress report on the patient.

Talking With The Surgeon

While the patient is in surgery, the family will be asked to check in with the surgical hostess in the main lobby. Please identify the family spokesperson to the surgical hostess. The spokesperson will be the main contact for communication with the surgeon and staff. The surgeon will contact the spokesperson by phone through the surgical hostess when the surgery is complete. Later in the day the surgeon will give an update on the patient's progress.

Patient Appearance

It is normal for patients to appear pale, and swollen after surgery. This is because the body's temperature is cooled during surgery.You may notice shivering; this is a normal response to waking up from anesthesia as well as warming up. We will gradually warm the patient to a normal body temperature and give pain medications to make your loved one comfortable. Swelling will go down several days after surgery.

Expected Length of Stay

The average length of hospitalization is 3 to 4 days.

Patient Discharge

Upon discharge the patient will be given instructions on how to take care of themselves. Our social workers will assist with any discharge needs. The medications required after discharge will be reviewed with the patient and appropriate family members.

Personal Belongings

Personal belongings such as dentures or glasses can be left on 4400 before surgery. Those items will be locked up and returned to the patient when the patient returns to 4400. Valuables should be taken home with family members. We ask that family and friends wait until the patient is transferred to 4400 before sending flowers because of limited space and the chance of introducing germs.

Waiting Room & Telephones

The CTICU waiting room is a located close to the unit. Lounge space as well as a quiet room and public telephones are available. A blackboard is available so you may leave notes for other family members. A volunteer is available during the day in the waiting room to offer information and assistance to families.


Restrooms are located in the waiting room for your convenience.