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What we do

The Cardiothoracic Service provides care for patients with heart and lung problems who require surgery or other similar invasive tests and treatments. 

We provide care for patients in hospital, as well as running outpatient clinics.

As well as treating patients from Wellington city, Porirua and on the Kāpiti Coast, we also treat patients from the Hutt Valley, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Wanganui, Hawkes Bay and the Nelson–Marlborough districts. 

Most paediatric surgery and cases for heart or lung transplants are referred to Auckland.

When you attend an outpatient appointment, doctors will do some tests to investigate your condition and advise you on surgery and treatment options.

Cardiac (heart) patients often need to have angiograms, heart scans and dental treatment before their operation. These are carried out by other specialists such as cardiologists or dentists. Thoracic (lung) patients may require scans and lung tests.


The Cardiothoracic Service provide emergency (acute) and planned (elective) surgeries to treat conditions such as:

Cardiac Surgery

  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Valve surgery
  • Aortic aneurysms (an abnormal bulge in the wall of the major blood vessel carrying blood from your heart.)

Thoracic Surgery

  • Removal of lung tissue for treatment or diagnosis of tumours
  • Management of complications involving the cavity that surrounds the lung, which is called the pleural cavity. Common complications are a collapsed lung, also called a pneumothorax (when air is in the pleural cavity, or an effusion (when excess fluid builds up in the pleural cavity)
  • Chest trauma - e.g. fractured ribs or sternum following a fall or accident. This may be managed with or without surgery.


You must be referred to our service by a medical doctor – this will usually be your GP or another hospital specialist.

Your GP may refer you for emergency (acute) or planned (elective) surgery.

If you are having heart surgery, you may also be referred to a Cardiologist for ongoing care after the operation.

Our team

A team of health professionals work together on your treatment. During your visit, you may meet:

  • doctors
  • surgeons
  • dieticians
  • social workers
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • specialist nurses

Contact Us

Outpatient services such as clinics are held in the Clinical Measurement Unit located on the ground floor of the Wellington Regional Hospital opposite the hospital reception

View a map of how to get to the Clinical Measurement Unit.

Inpatient services are based in ward 6 South – The Wellington Regional Heart and Lung Unit.

If you are on the waiting list for planned cardiac or thoracic surgery then you will already have the contact details of the cardiothoracic liaison nurse.

Ph:04 385 5999

Last updated 17 September 2020.