Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 8:20:36 AM

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Vast Progress in Heart Repairs

Think heart surgery is an ordeal these days?

You might cringe when you find out how damaged hearts used to be fixed:
 
Today at Endwell Rotary,  Don Wager, professor emeritus from Suny Broome, spoke of the advances made since world war two.

Back then, to free up fused heart valves, doctors would make an incision, then insert their finger into the heart  to free up the valve.

Some doctors would even grow their index finger nail out and file it down to use as a scalpel.

And having a "pacemaker" back then was even worse.

"Well, the initial pacemakers were awfully crude. They were basically hooking up a car battery to someone's chest with the wires touch the outside of the chest, which were extremely painful, kept the person awake, scarred their chest," said Don Wager.
 
Pacemakers now can be implanted without major surgery, can determine battery life, and increase or decrease in rate.

As for the future of heart surgery, Wager says the medical community is considering using pig hearts, further refining artificial hearts, or even using stem cells to grow a new heart from that of a deceased person, and transplating that heart into a live patient.

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