Planning Your Trip and Stay in Ottawa

You have been referred to the team at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute to be assessed for a surgery called pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE). The purpose of this guide is to help you and your family prepare for your trip to Ottawa, for surgery, if it is indicated, and for your recovery at home.

By the time you arrive at the Heart Institute, you have been through a long diagnostic and testing process. Some tests may be repeated while you are here while others will not. Cardiac surgeon Dr. Fraser Rubens will confirm the tests scheduled for you when you arrive in Ottawa.

You should expect to stay here for about 3 ½ to 4 weeks, but it may be longer than this. Please be aware that your plans for returning home need to be very flexible.


If you are coming by air, you must have oxygen on the airplane.

  • If you are not currently on oxygen, you may need oxygen delivered by nasal prongs at a rate of 3 litres/minute.
  • If you are on oxygen now, your oxygen flow rate should be increased by 2 litres/minute for the duration of the flight.

Each airline company has its own policy about oxygen on the airplane. Some provide the oxygen for an extra cost, others request that you bring oxygen cylinders with you. Check with your airline about their policy.

Also, you will require oxygen continuously for between six weeks to three months after surgery. It is easier to arrange oxygen for your travel home and for the home oxygen if you use a nationally based company. We can assist you in planning for the oxygen needed at home.

It is possible you may be discharged from the Heart Institute after testing is complete, while you are awaiting surgery.


As noted above, it is possible you may be discharged from the Heart Institute after the tests are done if there is a time interval before the surgery date. You will need your medicines if this occurs.

If you are on Coumadin®, you will be instructed when to stop taking it before you come to Ottawa. Contact Dr. Rubens’ office when you have made your flight arrangements.

Bring all of the medicines you are taking with you when you come to Ottawa.



The most convenient place for you and your family to stay while in Ottawa is the Intern’s Residence. It is a five-minute walk from the Heart Institute (there is also an underground tunnel connecting the buildings).

Several types of accommodations are available including studio and fully furnished apartments (one to three bedrooms). The cost depends on the size of the suite. The monthly rate is cheaper than the daily rate, so you will likely want to go with this option. There is a separate charge for parking.

Call 613-798-5555 x15400 or x15434 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to book a place to stay as soon as you have your surgery date. Current rates and contact information can be found on the Heart Institute website.

Make arrangements for a place to stay before you arrive in Ottawa. Hotels and bed and breakfast establishments are also available.

If you have any difficulty in making arrangements for accommodations, contact the social services department at 613-696-7389.