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Cardiovascular Surgeon

What They Do

Surgeons Career Video

Insider Info

Cardiovascular surgeons are doctors who have extra training to operate on the heart and blood vessels. They can insert pacemakers, perform coronary artery bypasses and operate on heart valves.

They can also operate on other arteries in the body, such as the carotid artery, which runs up the neck. And they can surgically treat lung and esophagus problems.

Cardiovascular diseases include conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, rheumatic heart disease and congenital heart disease.

Cardiovascular surgeons work in the operating rooms at hospitals. They may also hold teaching positions at universities that have cardiovascular surgery divisions.

Cardiovascular surgeons can be required to work long hours and are also on call. "It is probably one of the most intense practices," says Dr. Tea Acuff. Acuff is a cardiovascular surgeon in Texas.

Surgery requires excellent manual dexterity. Surgeons must also be able to stand for long periods of time. They must also learn to deal with stress and fatigue.

"This requires fine work, long irregular hours and stress," says Dr. Lawrence Burr. He is a cardiovascular surgeon. He notes that an average operation takes between four and six hours.

At a Glance

Improve people's heart health

  • Surgeons work long hours
  • You have to be able to deal with stress
  • Be prepared for many years of training


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