The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) is a 12-bed unit for patients recovering from heart, lung and vascular surgeries. The collaborative efforts of our physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, dietitians, laboratory and imaging staff, as well as environmental services staff, enable us to maintain a high standard of care and service for our critically ill patients.

While in the CVICU, our staff encourages the participation of those who are important to the patient during his or her recovery.

Patient Progress

Our surgeons usually make very early morning rounds, allowing them to start their scheduled surgeries for the day. Thus, they rely on our staff to keep the family members updated on the patient’s condition, progress and plan of care for the day while in CVICU.

After Heart Surgery

CVICU is considered the “Recovery Room” immediately after heart surgery. During this time, we stabilize and attempt to remove the patient’s breathing tube prior to family visits.

The family members’ first visit may be from one to three hours after the patient arrives in CVICU. Our staff will keep you updated during this time, and we appreciate your patience. Also, the status of other patients in the CVICU may sometimes alter visitation times.

Expect to see several tubes, several bags of fluid hanging on a pole, a bandage wrap around a wrist, and several wires connected to the patient. Also, you can expect to see a fair amount of puffiness and paleness. This is all normal and usually improves within 24 hours.

After Lung Surgery

Patients that have had lung surgery may or may not require a breathing tube while in CVICU. Expect to see drainage tubes, bags of fluid on a pole, and wires connected to the patient.

After Vascular Surgery

(Carotid, leg surgery, aneurysm)

You can expect different things depending on the type of surgery performed. These patients generally require less invasive monitoring equipment. Expect to see small drains, bags of fluid, a bandage wrap around the wrist, and wires connected to the patient.

Patients that have had abdominal surgery (e.g. aneurysm) require somewhat more monitoring equipment, similar to the heart surgery patient.

You can expect to see several bags of fluid hanging on a pole, a bandage wrap around the wrist, and several wires connected to the patient. Also, expect to see a fair amount of puffiness and paleness. This usually improves within 24 hours.

It can be overwhelming the first time you visit. So, please feel free to ask the nurse to explain what you see, the progress of recovery and the plan of care for the day. The more you know, the less apprehensive the next visit will be for you.

The Mended Hearts Support Group

Some of our volunteers in the CVICU waiting area are members of the Mended Hearts Support Group. While in the hospital, you may receive a visit from a member of the Mended Hearts visitation team. Members of the visitation team visit heart patients and family members. Some have had heart surgery and some have had heart attacks or other heart conditions.

The purpose of this group is to give you support and help you to understand that you can live a productive life with heart disease. Our staff greatly appreciates Mended Hearts members. Sometimes it is more meaningful to talk with someone who has experienced a situation similar to your own in order to better understand the fears and thoughts that you may have.

Learn more about MENDED HEARTS


Visiting Hours*

  • 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • *Per nurse discretion.
  • *Visitors will be limited to 3 people. 
  • *No children under 12 years of age
  • Please be aware that visitation may need to be adjusted based on patient condition.
  • We will do our very best to accommodate visitation, but the patient’s care must take priority.
  • Families are welcome to stay in the CVICU Waiting Room between visiting hours. 
  • Fresh flowers are not allowed in patient rooms in the CVICU.

CVICU Waiting Room: 931-783-6305