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Why Do I Have to Arrive 2 Hours Before My Medical Procedure?

Patients and families often wonder why they are asked to arrive so early before for their medical procedure. Often, the health care team has many tasks to do before you are ready. These all involve making sure you are safe, and we don’t want to rush this important time.

What to Expect Before a Medical Procedure

Here are a few examples of the things that might happen before your procedure:

A Few Measurements and Vitals Will Need to be Taken:

  • Prep your skin, and maybe even clip some of the hair around the area. The drapes that are used are sticky, and we don’t want to pull all of that hair off!  Also, the skin prep makes sure the site is clean to minimize infections.
  • Get your height and weight. A lot of the medications we use are based on your weight in kilograms. Fun fact: to convert to pounds just multiply by 2.2!
  • Check your allergies. This minimizes your chances of having a reaction to something.
  • Check your vital signs and assess you. We want to make sure we look, listen, and feel…the more information we have, the better we can take care of you.

A Provider will Discuss Important Points with You

  • Discuss pain management. Managing your pain is important to us, we often take multiple approaches to make you comfortable. Information on pain management helps you understand what to expect, and leads to a smoother recovery.
  • Check when the last time was you ate. This is important because a full stomach may mean we have to wait to do your procedure to avoid some potential and serious complications such as aspiration of gastric contents. Ever had food go down the "wrong pipe?" That is what aspiration is, and during surgery your ability to cough and protect your airway is limited.
  • Sign a consent form and get your questions answered about what to expect. We want to have ample time to review your procedure with the provider.

Preparations will be Made for a Successful Medical Procedure

  • Make sure you have a working IV line. We want to make sure you get the medicines and hydration you need. If you know your veins are less than optimal, ask the nurse to wrap your arms in a warm blanket first to help dilate the veins.
  • Draw blood. Some procedures require special blood tests to make sure your electrolytes and blood counts are within an acceptable range for that procedure. Other surgeries require that your blood is screened for its type, so if you need a transfusion we have one ready that matches your blood type.

Other Tips to Know Before a Medical Procedure

Make sure you bring your glasses, insurance cards, driver’s license or identification, medications in their original bottles, and a copy of your advanced directives if you have them. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Please leave jewelry and valuables at home. No nail polish please… your nail beds give us clues to your oxygen level.

Our nurses want to make sure you have all of your questions answered before your procedure. If you have any questions about your procedure at CHI Health Nebraska Heart, please call (402) 328-3656 and we will be happy to assist you. If you are having a procedure at another location, just give them a call if you have questions.

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