After Surgery - Moving to the Step-Down Unit

You will usually move to the Step-Down Unit (4-Central) on the first or second day after surgery. Our goal there over the next few days is to get you up and walking as soon as possible. Movement also allows you to get back to "normal" more quickly.

Visiting and Contacting the Unit

The direct phone number for the Step-Down Unit is (212) 746-0322. Family members may call anytime to speak with a loved one's nurse. We ask that only one family member calls; when several people are calling, it takes your family member's nurse away from his or her bedside. Please try to avoid calling from 7:30 AM until 9 AM and from 7:30 PM until 9 PM, because that is time when nurses change shifts.

Please remember that we are only able to give out general information about your loved one's medical condition and only to a designated spokesperson. We always protect patient privacy and maintain confidentiality.

Visiting hours for the Step-Down Unit are from 9 AM to 9 PM daily. Flowers are permitted in the patient rooms in this unit. Cell phones may interfere with monitoring equipment, and their use is therefore not permitted.


The primary symptom that most people experience in the postoperative period is fatigue (feeling tired). On the first day after surgery, you may feel wide awake and thrilled to have the surgery behind you. Over the next few days, however, you will notice that you are generally tired. Though rest is important in your healing process, it is just as important to get your body back to your normal condition. This requires doing a little more activity each day.

The best thing you can do is to walk as much as you can each day. Walk with your physical therapist, your nurse, and your family when they come to visit. There are signs in the hallway to help you measure how far you are walking each time. Even spending time in a chair instead of in your bed will make you stronger and help your lungs to work optimally.

Weill Cornell Medicine Cardiothoracic Surgery 525 East 68th Street
Box 110
Suite M 404
New York, NY 10065 Directions
Phone: (212) 746-5166