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Keeping A Beating Heart

The Early Show continues its weeklong series on surviving heart disease in conjunction with the American Heart Association. On Wednesday, Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay talks about a new type of open-heart surgery.

It's called beating heart surgery. Doctors are now able to use the latest technology to operate directly on the beating heart, which reduces complications and helps patients recover more quickly.

Normally doctors stop the heart during bypass surgery to hold it still during the delicate procedure.

Now the latest technology lets the surgeon perform the operation as the heart continues to beat using a device known as "the octopus" to stabilize the area of the heart that needs work.

Beating heart surgery has grown over the past couple of years to account for about eighteen percent of the 360,000 bypass operations each year.

Yet it is not suitable for everybody and not every surgeon is familiar with the technology and the techniques required.

Furthermore, there are some doctors who want to wait and see what the long-term results are before they are convinced that beating heart surgery is really a better way of performing bypass surgery.

Click here for part I of this report.

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