Heart Disease Home > Open Heart Surgery and Moving to the Operating Room

(Technically speaking, an open heart surgery is any procedure where the chest is opened, which certainly includes procedures beyond a heart bypass (a valve replacement, for example). However, because a heart bypass is the most common type of open heart surgery, for the purposes of this article, we will be using the terms "bypass" and "open heart surgery" interchangeably.)
 
As you are brought into the operating room for your open heart surgery, you can expect the room to be slightly cold, usually 60 to 65 degrees. Blankets will be available to keep you warm. On the operating room table, you will lie on your back. In order to provide for your safety on the narrow operating table, a safety belt may be placed around you. An automatic blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm, and a pulse oximeter, which checks oxygen levels in your blood, will be taped to your finger.
 
From the table, you will see several heart monitors, bright operating lights, tables of sterile instruments, the cardiac bypass machine, and other equipment (such as anesthesia equipment). During this time, you may also hear many strange noises, such as loud, high- and low-pitched beeps. These are all normal and are of no cause for concern.
 
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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