Diagnosis & Referral
Once your family doctor identifies that you have an issue that may require a surgery or procedure, he or she will refer you to one of NAVC’s surgeons. A referral means the surgeon will review your physician’s findings and, if necessary, arrange an appointment with you.
Your surgeon will discuss your condition and outline your options with you. He or she may order more tests to determine exactly what the concern is, or decide you don’t require surgery at this time. If the surgeon decides that surgery is the best option, he or she will arrange an appointment at the Pre Admission Clinic (PAC) at the Grey Nuns Hospital for you.
Ideally, your visit to the PAC will be two weeks before your surgery date. Depending on the surgeon’s schedule and the seriousness of your condition, the PAC appointment may be closer to your surgery date. At the PAC visit, the medical team will assess and prepare you for surgery. Generally, this takes most of the day.
Extended Day Unit
During your PAC appointment, you will receive instructions about eating and drinking before surgery. The physicians who see you may also make recommendations about your medications and give you information about where and when you need to be at the Grey Nuns on the day of your surgery.
On the day of your surgery, please go to the Extended Day Unit (Unit 23). Staff will prepare you for your procedure and guide you to the OR holding area to wait for surgery.
Following your surgery, you will spend time in the recovery room. The nurses will help you recover from the anesthesia and help you with any discomfort. Most patients spend one hour in the recovery room.
After the recovery room, you will be moved to one of the post-operative wards. Unit 41 is the main inpatient ward of NAVC. The Intermediate Care Unit is the observation unit for vascular patients. Both of these units are on the fourth floor of the Grey Nuns and specialize in vascular surgery. The Intensive Care Unit is for patients who require one-on-one care and specialized help.
Following your surgery, patients who have had the open AAA procedure usually spend 1-2 days in the Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU).
In the IMCU, you will be monitored closely. You will be attached to a monitor that will allow the physicians and nursing staff to watch your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation closely. You will have a foley catheter, a tube inserted into your bladder. This will remove the need for you to get up and urinate. You will have at least one IV inserted into your arm to provide fluid. This will make up for the fluid you may have lost during the surgery.
You will have a long incision running up and down your abdomen. For the first few days there will a dressing to protect the incision. This will be changed daily.
Following the first day after surgery, nursing and rehab staff will start to mobilize you. It may be a slow process, but do not lose hope!
After 1-2 days, you will be transferred to the main ward of Unit 41. Here the focus will be more on getting you ready for home. An average stay in hospital for an open AAA procedure is 7 days. However, everyone is different and everyone recovers differently. Your stay may be a bit longer.