Open Heart Surgery

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Me in my operating room attire

Me in my operating room attire

As part of my med-surg clinical this semester I had the opportunity to watch a surgery in the operating room. This OR (operating room) observation day replaces my regular clinical that week. Today was my OR day. I was thrilled when I learned that I would be observing open heart surgery–more specifically, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). It seemed appropriate, as I am a nursing unit secretary in the cardiology unit and we are often sending patients down for this procedure. I was excited to witness this complicated and invasive operation.

In a CABG, arteries or veins from elsewhere in the patient’s body are used to graft to the coronary arteries to bypass atherosclerotic narrowings and improve the blood supply to the coronary circulation supplying the myocardium (heart muscle). I watched the PA (physician assistant) cut open the patient’s legs and use a scope to locate and harvest the veins that would be used for grafting. Meanwhile, the cardiothoracic surgeon made an incision in the patient’s chest, cut apart his sternum (breast bone) with a saw, and proceeded to dissect the internal mammary artery from the chest wall to use as a bypass conduit. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (5) Mar 30 2011