Open heart surgery is any surgery where the chest is opened and surgery is done on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or other parts of the heart (such as the aorta). The term "open" means that the chest is "cut" open.
The definition of open heart surgery has become confusing because new procedures are being done on the heart through smaller cuts. Some new procedures are being done with the heart still beating.
Heart surgery - open
A heart-lung machine is usually used during open heart surgery. While the surgeon works on the heart, the machine helps send oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other organs.
You will not need to be on a heart-lung machine for these types of surgery. However, your heart rate will be slowed with medicine or a mechanical device. If there is a problem with these procedures, the surgeon may have to open the chest to do the surgery.