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Machine Makes Waiting Easier

Micheal King pulled out the tubes that have kept his heart pumping for the past two months and set about saving his own life.

''Take a deep breath. Relax. Calm yourself down,'' his transplant coordinator told him.

Over the next two minutes, King, 43, felt pressure build in his chest and sweat roll down his face as he pumped by hand to restart the device he will depend on to keep him alive until he receives a heart transplant, he recalled after the exercise last week.

Heart Disease and Executives - A First-Person Account of Bypass Surgery

It could have been my father. Or my husband or brother.

Or me.

Instead, it's a 76-year-old man who looks much like a side of beef as he lays on the operating table before a team of cardiac surgeons, nurses, machine operators and anesthesiologists. His body is painted with an anti-bacterial coating that turns the color of iodine. He's under four brilliant lights at a busy intersection in the room, surrounded by a tangle of tubes and sophisticated machines.

The Heart of the Matter - Eighth-Graders Get a Close-Up Look at Life-Saving Surgery

By the time they filed in for the operation, they already had been briefed by the heart surgeon. Dr. Edward LeFrak had even given the group a chance to question him about the long and complicated procedures he does to help save lives.

"Do you have to stand the whole time?" wondered 14-year-old Claire Trueman.

"People ask that all the time," LeFrak said with a smile. "They say, 'Don't you have to pee? Don't you have to eat?' You're so focused, you don't think about it."

John Athy, who is 13, wanted to know: "Do you have any rituals before you operate on somebody?"

Hearts and Minds: Will a group of Arlington teenagers renounce the siren call of pizza, PlayStation 2 and the Internet after witnessing bypass surgery and learning the risks of coronary disease?

Under the metallic glare of operating theater lights, a middle-aged man lies on a surgical table at Inova Fairfax Hospital, naked and unconscious. At 180 pounds, he is not overweight, but elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure have choked his coronary arteries with plaque, a fatty substance that accumulates on the artery walls and impedes blood flow to the heart. In preparation for surgery, nurses have covered every inch of the patient's skin with a saffron yellow antiseptic film, giving him a jaundiced glow.

New Heart Center Opens: Inova Fairfax Hospital Opens a Heart and Vascular Institute

The Inova Fairfax Hospital is welcoming a new $152.2 million addition. The Heart and Vascular Institute, on the campus of Inova Fairfax Hospital, 3300 Gallows Road, officially opened its doors to the public Wednesday, Oct. 6 with statements by Lt. Gov. Timothy Kaine and Inova President Knox Singleton.

"This institution is a contribution of compassion and excellence. I commend you for your commitment to excellence," said Kaine.

Construction on the facility began in late April of 2002, and a little more than two years later, it is ready for patients.



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