ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Heart bypass surgery. Surgeon's hands fitting wires into a patient's sternum (breast bone) in the final stages of a coronary artery bypass operation. The sternum was cut in half to open the chest, and the wires are attached to the halves so that they can be pulled together. Chest drains (tubes) are seen in the chest, which prevent fluid build-up. This operation is performed when one or more coronary arteries, the arteries which supply the heart muscle with oxygenated blood, become blocked or narrowed. A length of vein from the patient's leg is attached to the affected area of the heart, allowing blood to reach it. Blocked coronary arteries can lead to a heart attack.
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