Heart surgery

Heart surgery

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Caption: Heart surgery. Gloved hand of a surgeon mopping up blood in the open chest cavity of a patient who is undergoing open-heart surgery. Chest drains (upper centre, four tubes) have been inserted to allow blood and other fluids to drain from the cavity after the wound has been closed. A rib spreader (metal, centre left and right) keeps the rib cage spread open. This is a coronary artery bypass operation, where blood vessels from elsewhere in the body are grafted onto the heart. This is done to bypass blockages in the coronary arteries that normally supply the heart's blood. The blockages are caused by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fat and cholesterol on the internal walls of arteries.

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