I work at a childrens hospital. We ALWAYS take the adult congenital hearts on our unit. No matter what their admitted for. Post op, cardiac cath, fever, kidney failure. Once a heart patient always a heart patient at my hospital. I recently took care of a 26 year old who, in my opinion, his heart was the best thing he had going for him, he was in for severe graft vs host after a BMT. Not a heart patient at all, and very difficult to care for. There are many nurses on my unit who used to work adults and they will generally get the post op patients but not always and we adjust. Do I like taking care of adults? Not really, but like I said, we adjust.
Ashley, the reason they come to us, and maybe this is the same for you, is because surgery for congenital heart disease is so much different than for your cabbages and valve replacements in the adult world. The adult cardiologists and nurses don't know how these hearts work and don't know the seriousness of certain complications. These patients have to be ventilated differently, resuscitated differently, everything is different. A 28 year old fontan is going to be handled post op very differently than a 28 year old normal heart. And their history is going to make any little procedure much more complicated than it would be on a normal adult. We recently had a 28 year old fontan in for a "simple" pacemaker placement. She wound up with a ruptured aorta before they could even get into her chest because of all the old scar tissue she had...she survived, but it was definitely not the simple procedure everyone had been anticipating.