Open heart surgery. View of surgeons performing open heart surgery. The chest has been opened, exposing the heart (yellow, lower centre). During this operation, the patient's heart will be deliberately stopped to make delicate surgery possible. Catheters can be seen leaving the heart, taking blood to a heart-lung machine, which is a short-term substitute for the actual organs. The body is kept cool during the procedure to minimise tissue damage from lack of oxygen. This allows the operation to proceed safely for several hours, which is often necessary in complicated cases.
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