Medical Minute 1-17: Beating Heart Surgery

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

Sixty-five-year old George Munday was planning his retirement time with family and a getaway on his boat, The Great Escape. Then, a nagging cough led to a diagnosis of throat cancer and surgery to remove a tumor.

"I was perfectly wide awake watching what was going on. Then the next thing I know I had all these nurses around me," said Munday.

Munday suffered a heart attack in the recovery room. Three arteries were blocked, but he was in no condition for bypass surgery.

"If I had the traditional operation, there was the chance of infection," said George Munday.

Dr. Fuad Moussa is an expert in what is known as "beating heart surgery" at Sunnybrook Regional Medical Center In Toronto. During a traditional bypass, surgeons open the chest, connect the patient to a heart and lung machine, then stop the heart.

Doctors make a three inch incision in the chest and operate between the ribs. Seperate small incisions allow doctors to insert a device to immobilize the blood vessels. Then, while the heart is beating, they graft together health arteries-bypassing the diseased areas.

"With the stabilizing tools in place, it allows us to be as precise as we would be if the heart were not moving," said Fuad Moussa, M.D., Cardiac Surgeon Sunnybrook Regional Medical Centre, Toronto.

Moussa says this procedure decreases stress on a patient's kidney, lings and brain - and slashes recover time - which is crucial for patients who are older or considered high risk, like George.

"Feel good. Feel fine. I guess I don't know what all the fuss is about is the best way to put it," said George Munday.

Laurie LegereMedia RelationsSunnybrook Regional Medical Centre(416) 480 -6100

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