The Life of a Heart Surgeon


Having someone else's life in your hands is a daunting responsibility that many people do not choose to find themselves in. In the life of a heart surgeon, however, this is a situation that is faced almost every day. A person's heart is what keeps the blood pumping through the body and nourishes the other organs so that life can go on. There are many stresses that add to a cardiovascular surgeon's life, but hopefully will be rewarding in the end.

Types of Operations

  • A heart surgeon performs several types of operations. These operations involve the heart and the blood vessels. Surgery of the coronary artery is a bypass and performed to prevent a heart attack. Surgery also treats valvular heart disease, artery problems in the lower extremities, aneurysms, carotid artery problems, and lung and esophagus problems. Surgery is performed any time a person's life or quality of life is greatly threatened.


  • There are many tasks that a heart surgeon will be expected to do every day. For example, a heart surgeon will treat and operate when necessary on problems of the heart and blood vessels. Also, heart surgeons will examine patients for any signs that they have heart diseases that must be treated. Heart surgeons must have great skill to implant pacemakers and perform other major surgeries that can mean the difference between life and death. Finally, they must be able to make diagnoses based on diagnostic images and electrocardiograph recordings as well as prescribe the proper medications for after surgery.

Time Frame

  • The path to becoming a heart surgeon is long and hard. After attending a four-year college (although some medical schools accept two-year graduates), five years are spent in medical school with training in general surgery. Afterward, students go through two or three more years of cardiothoracic training. Finally, surgeons must complete qualifying licensing examinations to practice medicine.

Work Hours

  • According to, a heart surgeon works 50 to 60 hours a week. They work in a number of environments, including operating rooms, offices and examination rooms. They can also be found in universities, intensive care units, private clinics and other research offices. Constant care of patients is the number one goal of surgeons followed by research, diagnoses and administrative work. All of these tasks and locations require a heart surgeon to put in long hours every day. With these qualities, a heart surgeon will have a very rewarding career and life.

Personality Features

  • There are several features a heart surgeon must possess to be both successful and happy. The need to help people is the most important of these qualities because patients put their lives into the hands of surgeons. Surgeons must also be very smart and able to make quick and life-saving decisions. Stamina is needed for the long hours, and steadiness is required for the delicate surgeries that are performed.

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