Elective Surgery wait lists

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sandra

VR.org Supporter
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2023
Messages
36
Location
Victoria, Australia
Curious to know about people's experiences whilst they wait for surgery. I've been on the surgery wait list since November 22nd last year. I'm having my second OHS to replace my first now calcified tissue valve which l have had since December 2014. I was told the wait list was two months. In that time l've heard absolutely nothing, despite several phone calls to the Cardio-thoracic dept of my hospital. They don't return calls it seems. Finally yesterday l got through to a person who could help me. Apparently, my surgery is now expected to be late Feb/early March.
Have other people experienced delays? Do you get updates whilst waiting. How does the long wait make you feel?
 
Hey Sandra
in Queensland at least OHS isn't 'elective' surgery like a knee or a hip. Unless you have gone private you are still subject to wait lists, but there are priorities depending on your risk levels. Depending on the results of the tests you'll be slated a time but that might be shorter or longer.

I think it was about 3 months from my angiogram to my surgery.

I had an aneurysm of something like 5.6cm (considered a high risk of rupture) and yet I was still 3 months. I just kept doing normal things until surgery. That's me on the ladder cutting the palm.


Don't take too much from receptionists, you need to get information from your Dr or your cardiologist. Have you met them recently?

I had a quick look in your about, but there wasn't much that was helpful to inform me more about your situation in there.

Best Wishes
 
In the US, I was diagnosed in December and operated on in late-February. I wasn't waitlisted and my surgical date never changed. I could of had it done earlier, but I wanted it after my daughter's birthday, just in case it didn't go well.

You've been waiting 4 months and they still haven't set a date. I'd be royally upset and scared. When I asked how long I had to get my BAV fixed, I was told to get it done as soon as possible, when pressed for something more definite, I was told within 2 months. When the valve was removed, my surgeon said the valve was ready to fail.

Being told late Feb-March is not a date. You need a firm date to plan your life around it...work, home, etc. I don't know how Victoria's health service works, but you might start thinking of doing some serious advocacy on your own behalf. Sometimes you just need to go in person or complain to those in charge of the process. "Squeaky wheel gets the grease...or OHS."
 
I know that the Australian medical system is very different from the USA medical system. Also, the USA system varies depending on where you are and what kind of insurance you have.

Here in the USA, I urge people to talk with several hospitals, because different hospitals will have different issues with the need to adjust schedules for priorities and emergencies.

I'm in the USA using Medicare (old people gov subsidized insurance). This allows me to use any hospital in the USA. Local hospital (University of Iowa) had an 80 day wait for open heart surgery. Because they only have (I think) 2 surgeons who do open heart, I would have been at risk of getting rescheduled if anyone in the eastern half of the state of Iowa needed emergency open heart surgery.

I then talked with Mayo clinic in Minnesota, and they had an opening in just 22 days. Also, Mayo is a wonderful hospital with a great cardiac surgery department. So, I went to Mayo. I have not asked Mayo how often they reschedule someone's surgery. Since they have at least 10 cardiac surgeons, I suspect they rarely need to reschedule to handle emergencies.
 
In the SF Bay Area, I only waited 6 weeks for my first surgery. The surgeon wanted to line up the people he wanted in there for my surgery.
However, for my 2nd surgery I only waited 2 days since I came into Stanford by ambulance with chf. Before my 3rd surgery and after treatment for endocarditis, I spoke to my surgeon that did my 2nd surgery. I then waited for some reason, it was the new year and I was not thinking I needed surgery right away. But, I got a call from my surgeon’s office wondering why I hadn’t called to schedule my 3rd surgery! So, we scheduled in just a couple of weeks. And this was a highly sought after world renown surgeon.
(Recently, when my interventional cardiologist asked who did my surgeries, he said I got the ‘big guns’. He is in Los Angeles and knew my surgeon’s name).
I agree you should push for a definite date!
 
Hey Sandra
in Queensland at least OHS isn't 'elective' surgery like a knee or a hip. Unless you have gone private you are still subject to wait lists, but there are priorities depending on your risk levels. Depending on the results of the tests you'll be slated a time but that might be shorter or longer.

I think it was about 3 months from my angiogram to my surgery.

I had an aneurysm of something like 5.6cm (considered a high risk of rupture) and yet I was still 3 months. I just kept doing normal things until surgery. That's me on the ladder cutting the palm.


Don't take too much from receptionists, you need to get information from your Dr or your cardiologist. Have you met them recently?

I had a quick look in your about, but there wasn't much that was helpful to inform me more about your situation in there.

Best Wishes

Thank you for your reply Pellicle. Great video (glad that palm fell away from you lol).
The letter l received from the hospital stated that l was in Category 2 on the elective surgery list (which means surgery could be up to 90 days). I did contact my cardiologist a few weeks ago but she wasn't helpful - told me to ring my surgeon's rooms (which l did twice but didn't receive a reply to my messages left). A three month wait sounds reasonable then, considering you waited that time when your situation was risky. My echocardiogram last July returned a reading of 58 for my gradient, but as l didn't have any symptoms it was decided for me to go on blood thinners for three months which l did. The next echo returned a gradient reading of 71. I then had a CT scan and a Transesophageal echo which both returned readings of 63 for the gradient. I feel ok apart from getting tired easily. I'm still very active - not cutting down palms, but l am working in my garden doing stuff for a few hours each day :)
I'll just keep waiting. Apparently they are trying to organise a date currently. I'm a public patient, but l will have the same two surgeons for this coming operation as l did for the last one l had.
It's reassuring to have an approximate date, but it would be nice if the hospital updated patients when expected dates extend out past what was stated. I didn't have this happen last time, as l went in via ambulance as an emergency case. Take care
 
Hi

The letter l received from the hospital stated that l was in Category 2 on the elective surgery list (which means surgery could be up to 90 days). I did contact my cardiologist a few weeks ago but she wasn't helpful - told me to ring my surgeon's rooms (which l did twice but didn't receive a reply to my messages left)
I would
  1. make an appointment with your GP and discuss this at the earliest opportunity
  2. seek clarification on your needs assessment from your cardiologist.
It's reassuring to have an approximate date, but it would be nice if the hospital updated patients when expected dates extend out past what was stated
I can't tell you how many times I've read here (from Americans too) about getting bumped at the last minute.

What would you prefer? Flexible certainty or Honest approximations with a call a day or two before and go?

If it was life threatening you'd be in recovery in ICU already.

Before OHS #2 I got told we'll call you when we have a slot, I can't be sure how many days between that advice and being in there, but this stuff isn't like being over board in the Winter waters of the Black Sea like a Russian Sailor (where hours matter).

Best Wishes
 
Maybe talk to other hospitals or try to move your date up? The hospital I’m debating on going through said depending how bad a case is they can get you into surgery in a week or two.
 
I know that the Australian medical system is very different from the USA medical system. Also, the USA system varies depending on where you are and what kind of insurance you have.

Here in the USA, I urge people to talk with several hospitals, because different hospitals will have different issues with the need to adjust schedules for priorities and emergencies.

I'm in the USA using Medicare (old people gov subsidized insurance). This allows me to use any hospital in the USA. Local hospital (University of Iowa) had an 80 day wait for open heart surgery. Because they only have (I think) 2 surgeons who do open heart, I would have been at risk of getting rescheduled if anyone in the eastern half of the state of Iowa needed emergency open heart surgery.

I then talked with Mayo clinic in Minnesota, and they had an opening in just 22 days. Also, Mayo is a wonderful hospital with a great cardiac surgery department. So, I went to Mayo. I have not asked Mayo how often they reschedule someone's surgery. Since they have at least 10 cardiac surgeons, I suspect they rarely need to reschedule to handle emergencies.
I am on Medicare due to being disabled and not old as you called it. 58 is young and live in the USA and on SSDI. And cannot afford to go to several hospitals. I went to a reputable hospital due to where my surgeon had permission to do operations. But I did well and it was back in 2001. Had a 30-60 day wait. Did well and still alive, which counts.
 
Thank you for your reply Pellicle. Great video (glad that palm fell away from you lol).
The letter l received from the hospital stated that l was in Category 2 on the elective surgery list (which means surgery could be up to 90 days). I did contact my cardiologist a few weeks ago but she wasn't helpful - told me to ring my surgeon's rooms (which l did twice but didn't receive a reply to my messages left). A three month wait sounds reasonable then, considering you waited that time when your situation was risky. My echocardiogram last July returned a reading of 58 for my gradient, but as l didn't have any symptoms it was decided for me to go on blood thinners for three months which l did. The next echo returned a gradient reading of 71. I then had a CT scan and a Transesophageal echo which both returned readings of 63 for the gradient. I feel ok apart from getting tired easily. I'm still very active - not cutting down palms, but l am working in my garden doing stuff for a few hours each day :)
I'll just keep waiting. Apparently they are trying to organise a date currently. I'm a public patient, but l will have the same two surgeons for this coming operation as l did for the last one l had.
It's reassuring to have an approximate date, but it would be nice if the hospital updated patients when expected dates extend out past what was stated. I didn't have this happen last time, as l went in via ambulance as an emergency case. Take care
You say you don't have any symptoms, but you also say "I feel ok apart from getting tired easily." I believe that is a symptom. My cardiologist and surgeon both told me that a lack of symptoms is not unusual. As the disease progresses over time, there is a slow change in functionality but at the end it can go bad quickly. Your last date was late February early March...you should have been given a day and time by now.
 
Curious to know about people's experiences whilst they wait for surgery. I've been on the surgery wait list since November 22nd last year. I'm having my second OHS to replace my first now calcified tissue valve which l have had since December 2014. I was told the wait list was two months. In that time l've heard absolutely nothing, despite several phone calls to the Cardio-thoracic dept of my hospital. They don't return calls it seems. Finally yesterday l got through to a person who could help me. Apparently, my surgery is now expected to be late Feb/early March.
Have other people experienced delays? Do you get updates whilst waiting. How does the long wait make you feel?

My echo that indicated surgery is required for severe aortic stenosis and 44mm aortic root was last May (no change after the 1st one in Dec 22), and I still haven’t had surgery 9 months later. I’ve had a few pre-op appointments cancelled last minute, but luckily I’m not really any more symptomatic and my pre-op is now next Friday.
 
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My wait time was only 2 weeks at UCLA. I wanted a little more time to get prepared, so I scheduled it for 3 weeks. Had I chosen Cedar Sinai, another top clinic, my understanding was that the wait time would have been similarly short.
 
Hey Sandra
in Queensland at least OHS isn't 'elective' surgery like a knee or a hip. Unless you have gone private you are still subject to wait lists, but there are priorities depending on your risk levels. Depending on the results of the tests you'll be slated a time but that might be shorter or longer.

I think it was about 3 months from my angiogram to my surgery.

I had an aneurysm of something like 5.6cm (considered a high risk of rupture) and yet I was still 3 months. I just kept doing normal things until surgery. That's me on the ladder cutting the palm.


Don't take too much from receptionists, you need to get information from your Dr or your cardiologist. Have you met them recently?

I had a quick look in your about, but there wasn't much that was helpful to inform me more about your situation in there.

Best Wishes

So, I finally have my surgery date. It will be on 12th March at the Alfred Hospital in Victoria. I am excited. It seems to have been a very long wait with over 100 days on the wait list
 
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