Heart Disease Home > Instruments Used for Beating Heart Bypass Surgery

Because the heart normally moves around while beating, specialized instruments for beating heart bypass surgery are needed. A heart stabilizer allows the heart to beat while reducing movement only in the area where your surgeon is working. The heart-lung bypass machine, while not used frequently, is another one of the instruments used for beating heart bypass surgery. It pumps blood through the body and acts as the lungs.

Instruments Used for Beating Heart Bypass Surgery: An Introduction

During beating heart bypass surgery, your surgeon intends to attach one or more blood vessel grafts to the arteries on your heart. Normally, your heart is always moving as it beats, and this constant movement makes it harder to attach the graft. There are two methods that your surgeon may use to make this easier.
In the first method, your surgeon uses a tool called a heart stabilizer. The heart stabilizer reduces the movement of the heart only in the area where your surgeon is working. The rest of your heart continues to beat during the whole operation.
Sometimes, a machine called the heart-lung bypass machine is also used during this surgery. The heart-lung bypass machine takes over the work of your heart and lungs while they are temporarily stopped. It pumps blood throughout your body and also serves as your lungs, adding oxygen to your blood and removing carbon dioxide. During the time when the heart isn't beating, your surgeon can attach the new graft.
At some point during the surgery, your surgeon may decide to use the heart-lung machine. Among other reasons, this may happen if:
  • Your surgeon has trouble seeing the area where the blocked arteries
  • Your heart function becomes unstable.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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