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Operation: Heart Transplant Operation: Heart Transplant (2.2MB)

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Operation: Heart Transplant
or How to Transplant a Heart in Nineteen Easy Steps

by Rick Groleau

OK, so there's really nothing humorous or easy about heart transplant surgery. Last year in the U.S., almost 800 men, women, and children died while waiting for suitable donor hearts. But despite this general shortage of hearts, the operation was (and is) routinely performed in American hospitals (During the same period, about 2,300 hearts were successfully transplanted.*) Lasting up to seven hours (and sometimes longer), the surgery is time-consuming and the work, intricate and involved. The step-by-step procedure, however, is fairly straightforward and not at all difficult to comprehend.

Enter our virtual NOVA operating theatre, where you will be given a scalpel and perform a heart transplant of your own. Yes, our version of the operation has been greatly simplified. Nevertheless, all of the basic steps are outlined in this feature, and by the end of the operation, you will have a pretty good idea of what's involved in taking the heart of one human and making it work in another.

Have no fear. The surgeons by your side will guide your every move and prevent you from taking any missteps.

Your patient has been anesthetized and is otherwise prepared for the operation.

* Source: United Network for Organ Sharing (

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