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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cardiothoracic Services

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Cardiac and Thoracic Critical Care Unit (CTCCU)

The Cardiac and Thoracic Critical Care Unit (CTCCU) is a specialist unit. We admit patients with a range of cardiac, thoracic and vascular problems, both surgical and medical

There are two sides to the unit; one for patients with acute cardiac medical problems (Coronary Care Unit), and one for patients who have undergone cardiac and thoracic surgery (Cardiothoracic Critical Care).

Coronary Care Unit

The Coronary Care Unit (CCU) cares for patients who have heart disease and occasionally other medical or surgical problems.

Conditions such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), angina (chest pain), left ventricular failure (LVF) and arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats) are common reasons to be admitted to CCU.

A patient having a heart attack may be admitted directly to the CCU, transferred to the Cardiac Angiography Suite for a primary coronary (cardiac) angioplasty and then returned to the CCU for ongoing care. Patients with cardiac chest pain, but not having a heart attack, may be admitted to the CCU before and/or after the placement of stents in coronary blood vessels.

Patients with acute shortness of breath as a result of the heart not pumping efficiently (LVF), are given medication and helped to breathe. A patient with an abnormally fast, slow or irregular heart beat may be admitted to the CCU so that we can monitor heart rate and rhythm and provide treatment.

The CCU can monitor the heart's rhythm, blood pressure and oxygen levels continuously, and the nursing team record and interpret heart traces (electrocardiogram/ECG). While a patient is in the CCU a cardiologist may perform a specialised test, such as echocardiography, which looks at the pumping function of the heart.

Most patients in the CCU can breathe without the assistance of a machine (ventilator) - though some will need oxygen (either by nasal prongs or mask). Patients who need additional support from a ventilator will be transferred to the intensive care unit.

Cardiothoracic Critical Care

Patients are admitted if they need intensive monitoring and care following cardiothoracic surgical procedures.

These include:

  • coronary artery bypass grafting
  • aortic or mitral valve replacements/repairs
  • complex thoracic aortic surgery
  • thoracic surgery
  • 'ventricular assist device' implantation
    A mechanical pump that takes over the function of the damaged ventricle of the heart and restores normal blood flow.

Patients are admitted immediately from theatre and each is cared for by their own nurse until they are able to come off the ventilator.

Once they are stable, they are moved to the High Dependency Unit (HDU), and from there to the Cardiothoracic Ward to continue their recovery.

Patients who develop complications may stay for many days, or occasionally months. They may require long-term support with drugs or devices that support their heart.

Patients who come to the unit have either been on the waiting list for surgery or come as emergencies. Patients are referred from within the Oxford University Hospitals by local district general hospitals and also from further afield for some specialist surgery.

Find us and contact us

  • Cardiac and Thoracic Critical Care Unit (CTCCU)
    Level 1
    John Radcliffe Hospital
    Oxford OX3 9DU
  • Reception: 01865 572635
  • Nurses' Station A: 01865 572639
  • Nurses' Station B: 01865 572641
  • Nurses' Station C: 01865 572644 / 572643
  • Lead Nurse
    Caroline White: 01865 572929
  • Preadmission contact for Jane Moody
    Tel: 01865 220274

Visiting hours

Open visiting (but with a protected rest period 12.00pm - 3.00pm).

It is best to visit 3.00pm - 8.00pm as you will experience fewer interruptions. Only two visitors may stay at the bedside at any one time.

For maps of the hospital, information about transport and parking and contact details, please use the link below.