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
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
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
"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.