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Cardiac Surgery

What the service does
Who provides the service
How to access the service
Location of service
Contact details


What the service does

We provide cardiac surgery for adult and child patients from across Northern Ireland. Our cardiac surgery department carries out all surgical procedures apart from transplants.

Our highly-experienced consultants perform around 1,000 operations each year.

Waiting times are currently:

  • up to 28 days for urgent surgery
  • up to six months for elective (planned) surgery
Conditions we treat

We treat a wide range of heart conditions, including:

  • coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • atherosclerosis
  • congenital heart disease
  • thoracic aortic aneurysm

Our cardiac surgeons also treat other conditions such as:

  • pericardial effusion
  • pericardial constriction
  • obstructed veins
  • benign tumours

In addition, our cardiac surgeons work alongside other service areas to perform operations where the risk of cardiac arrest may be high, for example kidney cancer surgery.

Surgical procedures
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting: This involves taking an artery or vein from either your leg, chest wall or arm and attaching (grafting) it to the diseased artery. It is a common operation. Read more about coronary artery bypass grafting.
  • Heart valve replacement and repair: This treats diseased or leaking valves. It is always better to repair a valve if possible. If necessary, we can fit a tissue or mechanical valve as a replacement. Read more about heart valve replacement.
  • Aortic surgery: Your aorta can expand or ‘balloon’ to form an aneurysm, which can weaken the artery wall. This increases the risk of your aorta rupturing or bursting. We carry out a planned operation when an aneurysm reaches a certain size. We carry out an emergency operation when an aneurysm ruptures or bursts. Read more about aortic surgery.
  • Tumour resection: Tumours can develop in your heart. If the tumour is benign, it may be possible to remove it, which is known as resection.

Who provides the service

The cardiac surgery team includes:

  • 10 consultant surgeons
  • 11 consultant cardiac anaesthetists
  • theatre nurses
  • intensive care nurses
  • ward nurses
  • specialist nurses, for example pre-assessment nurses
  • surgical care practitioners
  • junior doctors (foundation trainees, core trainees, special registrars, clinical fellows)
  • perfusionists
  • technicians
  • physiotherapists
  • clerical and secretarial staff
  • pharmacists

How to access the service

You can be referred to the cardiac surgery service by a cardiologist (heart doctor) at any hospital across Northern Ireland.

Read more about the patient journey.

Location of service

The cardiac surgery units are located off the Victorian Corridor in the Royal Victoria Hospital. To get there from the main entrance to the hospital:

  • go through the foyer of the main hospital building
  • go up the escalator or take the lift to the first floor
  • walk halfway down the main corridor and take the first walkway on the right, which crosses over to the Victorian Corridor
  • go left on the Victorian Corridor and you will see the entrance to the cardiac surgery units on your right (opposite the original entrance into ward 16)

Contact details

If you are enquiring about a potential date for your surgery, or you want to check you are on a waiting list, phone the waiting list office on 028 9063 6541.

The pre-assessment clinic can be contacted on 028 9063 4014.


Locations where this service is delivered