What is it like to be a patient on the Coronary Care Unit?

If you develop chest pain at home and call '999', you will be taken to our Emergency Department and assessed in our designated chest pain area either by a Specialist Nurse or an Emergency Department Doctor. 

After taking a thorough history, the team will record an electrical tracing of your heart (ECG) and take a sample of your blood.

Depending on your history and ECG trace, you may find yourself admitted directly to the Cardiac Catheter Suite, the Coronary Care Unit, or the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) for further assessment and management.

If tests suggest you have had a heart attack, you will received treatment for this. We treat heart attacks in a number of ways and you may be treated here at the Great Western Hospital or you may be transferred to one of our tertiary centres.

After initial treatment, you will be moved to the CCU for monitoring and further management.  Once on the CCU, we will attach you to a cardiac monitor and record your vital signs.

You will be reviewed regularly by the nursing and medical teams.

The Cardiology Consultants undertake morning rounds and your management plan will be reviewed on a regular basis and tailored to your individual needs.

It is likely that you would need a scan of your heart - known as an 'Echocardiogram', and also a 'Coronary Angiogram' to assess the blood flow through your heart.

Your further treatment will be dependent on the results of your tests.

If all goes well, the nurses will start planning for your discharge home which can, under the right circumstances,  be as soon as a few days following your heart attack.

We recognise that having a heart attack can be a frightening experience and we will keep you informed of your progress and try to allay any fears you may have.

You will be visited by a member of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Team who will talk you through what has happened and how you can avoid it happening again.

You are likely to be invited to join the cardiac rehabilitation programme, a combination of education sessions and exercise which will build your confidence to start exercising again.

You will also meet other patients who have had the same experience as you.

It is also likely that you will be reviewed in the post heart attack clinic approximately six weeks after you are discharged.

Before you are discharged the medical team will write your discharge summary and prescribe any medication you need.

Your medication will be issued from pharmacy and the nurses will spend time with you to explain why you have been given particular medication and when to take it.

It will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions.

The CCU Nurses are always available for advice, and if you get home and have questions you are welcome to ring us.


 

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