Close

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Technique: Surgery Using a Heart–lung Machine

A heart–lung machine takes over the function of the heart and the lungs. This allows the surgeon to operate on the heart during certain major chest operations, such as coronary artery bypass grafts, a heart transplant, or heart valve replacements. The heart is cooled and paralysed to stop it beating during surgery, and blood is diverted to the heart–lung machine, which oxygenates the blood, removes carbon dioxide, and then returns the blood to the body. Afterwards, the heart is restarted with an electric shock and the circulation is restored.

Site of the connections

During the operation

Tubes from the heart–lung machine are inserted into the blood vessels entering and leaving the heart to divert blood through the machine. The heart is then stopped and the operation performed. Afterwards, the heart is restarted and disconnected from the machine.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Back to top

Search the
Medical Encyclopedia

Related Topics

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.