Anatomy of Heart Surgery
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Anatomy of Heart Surgery 

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Successful Heart Surgery Isnt Just The Skill Of The Surgeon: Its The Synchronized Precision of a 70-Person Team.

A heart surgery is like an elaborate choreography. Each member of the team plays an essential role in the complex series of steps that, in the space of a few days, transforms a heart patients quality of life from poor to full of promise. Success springs from many factors the hospitals experience, the physicians skill, the ability of staff to respond to a patients most subtle signs.

The experts at Sentara Heart Hospital on the Norfolk General campus offer knowledge so vast its almost a sixth sense. They have worked together so long, they know each others techniques and timing down to split seconds.

It's the rare heart surgery program that includes all these experts. But if you're facing a heart operation, synchronized precision is exactly what you deserve. So make sure the hospital you choose offers care this comprehensive. It's the reason more than 1,000 heart surgery patients can expect to celebrate success here each year.

Cardiac Surgeons
Cardiothoracic surgeons apply remarkable skill for many types of life-saving open heart surgeries. Their talents are so in demand that each surgeon performs 8-10 highly complex procedures a week. 

Surgical Assistants And Physician Assistants
These experts function as the surgeons second pair of hands, harvesting veins for bypass, applying sutures and assisting closely with each delicate step. 

Cardiac Surgery Anesthesiologists
Sentara Heart Hospital works with anesthesiologists dedicated to our cardiac surgery patients. These uniquely skilled experts know the special needs of heart patients and specialize exclusively in cardiac surgery anesthesia. 
 
Subspecialists Skilled In Treating Heart Surgery Patients
Sentara's heart team includes an amazingly vast corps of skilled subspecialists who, when needed, address the unique medical needs of cardiac surgery patients. They include pulmonary critical care specialists, nephrologists, neurosurgeons, and others offering knowledge critical to a successful outcome. 
 
Perfusionists
As right hands to the anesthesiologists, skilled perfusionists run the heart bypass machine, which sustains patients during heart surgery. 
 
Circulating Nurses
Each operation is supervised by a nurse thoroughly familiar with the patients medical history and condition. This professional is in charge of the operating room, making sure the patient is prepped and that all necessary equipment and information is in place. 

Cardiovascular Surgery Lab Technicians
Carefully trained in monitor surveillance, these professionals keep a close watch on the patients blood gases, lab values, and other vital signs throughout surgery. 

Scrub Technicians
Well-versed in each surgeons preferences, scrub techs are responsible for providing key instruments during a procedure. 

Cardiac ICU Nurses
When a cardiac surgery is complete, the patient is transferred to the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CSICU), supported by a ventilator and many health monitoring devices. More than a dozen CSICU Nurses are responsible for watching the patient during this critical time, working with subspecialists to sustain the patients post-surgical health. 
 
Recovery and Follow-Up Nurses
Once a patient leaves the CSICU, specially trained cardiac care nurses take over, assuring continued success with highly specialized knowledge of surgical wound care, medications, and recovery procedures. 
 
Pre-Operative Nurses
These experts educate patients and families on what to expect during and after surgery. They also make sure each patients preliminary lab work is complete and that the patient has been fully evaluated prior to cardiac surgery. 

Discharge Planners
Surgical patients need considerable support once they return home. Sentara's discharge planners complete the cycle of success by helping to arrange needed support services, equipment, and transportation for ongoing care.

Additional Information
Download a copy of Sentara's "How to Choose a Quality Heart Program" fact sheet

Visit Sentara Heart Services to learn more about cardiac care at Sentara.

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