Heart Surgery in America


Click HERE for the entire Series…

Space 1

Editor’s Note:

I am planning on publishing a book regarding heart surgery in America- and all of the nuances that implies.

I invite you to contribute your  comments or essays on how you feel about the process currently in place @ your institution.

This book will be raw in terms of the topics and discussions it will entertain- so go for it!

I will write the story as it progresses- and if you wish to add anecdotal side bites- as well- That would be ultimate direction of the book and  would make the story far more complete and universal.


Space 1



Go on Bypass

“Go on Bypass” is a familiar command to me.  It represents an alternative to a patient who will probably die if we don’t execute that order.

I know that sounds harsh, but that is reality, and what will ultimately be the extension of  the life and dreams of the patient.

My name is Frank Aprile, and I am board certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP).

Space 1

Heart surgery isn’t easy.

It is pretty scary because most often people are very afraid that they may die.  Your loved ones as well, are the people I talk to and offer a smile and try to reassure them that the team they have in front of them, is the absolute best, and that for today at least, death isn’t knocking on the door.

I don’t know if that helps or not, but in my eyes, you have to be human and real to offer hope to people that are so clearly afraid of  losing a loved one.

I see faces every day on surgical gurneys, and recognize that it is very intimidating to have to lay on your back so exposed and vulnerable- basically at the mercy of whoever is pushing you and then asking you so many questions.

Space 1

And of course, you finally hit the wall.

The sheer number of people you see as you enter an operating room for heart surgery will give you pause because it drives home the point that this is a pretty big deal.  A seriously big deal when you have two surgical scrub technicians on anything, one or two circulating nurses, an operative 1st assistant,  a perfusionist, a first assistant, an anesthesiologist, a stat-lab technician, and a surgeon all together to make sure you aren’t going to die.

That represents at minimum- 10 people invested in your life- on this day- for this operation- to save or improve your life.

That’s a lot of folks who care a lot…

Space 1

And it is exactly That– a pretty big deal.

It is sold s a quick fix, but in all honesty?  It is a rough day and then a followup week.

Heart surgery is basically as tough as driving through an LA freeway 5 minutes before rush hour and getting out alive.  You have to pick the right lane.

The bottom line?  You can exit anytime.

So let’s take a look at 1 month in America as a perfusionist .

Space 1