Heart beat: Please don't let this be the wave of the future

Heart beat

Please don't let this be the wave of the future

Two reports from the Annals of Thoracic Surgery offer a glimpse into how doctors are pushing the envelope when it comes to reducing complications from bypass surgery and minimizing recovery after it:

Awake heart surgery: (It hurts just to read that phrase!) Seven brave men and women agreed to have double- or triple-bypass surgery while fully awake. They felt no pain, though, thanks to epidural anesthesia. This is the type some women choose to ease the pain of childbirth.

The Turkish surgeons who devised the operation say that awake bypass avoids possible complications from general anesthesia, breathing tubes, and the use of heart-lung machines.

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