Heart surgery

Conal Austin operating at Evelina London

To perform heart surgery a team of several specialised people is needed:

  • an anaesthetist and an operating department assistant are responsible for the anaesthetic and the ventilation (breathing support)
  • a perfusionist takes care of the cardiopulmonary bypass machine (a machine that does the work of the heart and lungs)
  • the surgeon works together with his assistant and a scrub nurse
  • further nurses help to provide all necessary equipment.

During most operations an echo-technician or paediatric cardiologist (specialist children's heart doctor) will also be involved.

The smallest children we operate on weigh less than 500 grams. Depending on the type of congenital (present from birth) heart disease they have, we can carry out complex heart surgery on babies who weigh less than 1,500 grams.

How many operations do we perform?

Every year:

  • around 480-520 operations are carried out by Professor Anderson, Mr Austin, Mr Salih and Mr Speggiorin. 370-400 of these are done using cardiopulmonary bypass
  • our surgeons also operate on more than 300 adult patients with either congenital (present from birth) or acquired heart disease
  • around 100 operations without cardiopulmonary bypass are performed.

Prior to surgery the following imaging may be carried out: