ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANTONIA REEVE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Surgery monitor being used during heart surgery. This displays the patient's vital signs during the surgery. The different traces show (from top): the heartbeat, various blood pressures, and (bottom 2 traces) the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. The numbers include the heart rate (81 beats per minute) and the arterial blood pressure (73/31 mmHg). Blood pressure falls during surgery on the heart because a heart-lung machine is used to take over the operation of the heart. It is important to monitor blood pressures in different areas of the body, to avoid complications such as brain damage during surgery. Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are monitored for the same reasons.
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