Cut to the Heart of the Matter


Need heart surgery? Just ask any of the DO-IT kids. We can do it for you and at a low cost! That's right, all the DO-IT kids did heart surgery on sheep hearts. Laurie Clark, the speaker of the session, taught us how to do two types of surgeries, a bypass surgery and a valve replacement surgery.

The bypass surgery is the most common heart surgery done. If the arteries that supply the heart with blood become blocked with "plaque" (which is mostly cholesterol), then a heart attack can occur. So in order to keep that from happening, a bypass surgery can be done.

First, the blockage is found and a hole is cut underneath the blocked portion of the artery. Then a rubber piece of tubing, called the bypass vessel, is inserted in the hole. Next, another hole is cut on the side of the aorta, which is the largest artery on the heart. Last, the other end of the bypass vessel in put into the hole. Voila! You're done!

Replacing a heart valve is just a little different than fixing a valve under the sink. When a heart valve is not closing correctly, it doesn't prevent the backflow of blood. This does not let the heart do a good job pumping and it is called a heart murmur. So in order to "fix" this valve it needs to be replaced. The first thing you do is find the right ventricle on the heart. Make an incision about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long on the right ventricle and then push a piece of tubing into the cut. It will pop out on the top where an artery is located. The tube has just passed through the tricuspid valve. Next put the artificial valve in the bottom part of the tubing. Pull it through until you see it almost ready to come out and then take the tube off the valve. Ta da! You're done!

You're happy with your well-done job, and the sheep would be too......if you could only have the supply company send the rest of him! Join us again in our next newsletter when we discuss "The future heart surgeons of America!"