Operation Live, open heart surgery

Jan Slagter, founder of broadcaster MAX, decided to broadcast an open heart operation live on television in 2010. The reactions to this are controversial. The program ‘Operation Live’ will be broadcast on 24-11-2010. During the broadcast, a 70-year-old man is operated on for a narrowing in his aortic valve. The broadcast is presented by Charles Groenhuijsen. He is assisted by heart surgeon Dr. Robin Heijman, who provides information about cardiovascular diseases and comments on the operation performed by colleague Dr. Alaaddin Yilmaz.

Operation Live

Omroep MAX will broadcast the controversial program ‘Operation Live’ on November 24, 2010 at 9:25 PM. In this broadcast, a 70-year-old man undergoes open heart surgery live on television. The operation is performed at the St. Antonius Hospital in Utrecht/Nieuwegein. The man has a narrowing in his aortic valve and his coronary arteries. To remedy this, the patient receives a new heart valve and two bypasses.

Source: Burlesonmatthew, Pixabay

The broadcast is presented by Charles Groenhuijsen, who is assisted by heart surgeon Dr. Robin Heijmen, who provides commentary on the operation. The operation is performed by his colleague, Drs. Alaaddin Yilmaz, who is supervised by a team of specialists. In the hospital, the conference room is furnished as a studio. From this studio there is a live connection with operating room 6, where the heart surgeon and his team are performing the operation.

Open heart surgery

Source: Azwer, Pixabay

About 18,000 people undergo open heart surgery every year. Approximately 2,000 open heart operations are performed annually at St. Antonius Hospital. Open heart surgery is a surgical procedure on the heart or the large blood vessels surrounding the heart. This could include replacing or repairing a heart valve, bypassing a blocked blood vessel or surgery on the aorta, the large artery in the body. To perform surgery on the heart, the functions of the heart and lungs are taken over by a heart-lung machine during the operation. To access the heart, the patient’s chest is opened with a special saw. A bypass operation takes on average about four and a half hours, depending on the number of bypasses. Replacing a heart valve takes approximately four hours.

The open heart surgery on November 24, 2010 will be partly broadcast live on television. The operation is monitored from the moment the patient’s heart is stopped. Drs. Alaaddin Yilmaz starts by applying the two bypasses, followed by replacing the diseased heart valve. During the operation, colleague Robin Heijmen talks in the studio about the dangers of cardiovascular disease. The various heart operations are explained and viewers can ask questions about cardiovascular disease and the operation via Twitter and email.

Purpose of Operation Live

There was initially quite a bit of commentary about the live broadcast of open heart surgery in the program ‘Operation Live’. It would be about sensation and good for the viewing figures. Former politician Rob Oudkerk, who was also a general practitioner, expressed his concern about the broadcast in the program ‘De Wereld Draait Door’. For example, the surgeon would not be able to work with concentration with all the cameras around the operating table. Despite the small chance that something went wrong during the operation, Rob Oudkerk did not think it was responsible to broadcast the operation live. He advocated recording the broadcast in advance.

Jan Slagter, founder of broadcaster MAX, decided to go for the live broadcast, despite the objections. He thought it was a unique opportunity for viewers to experience open heart surgery live. The operation is performed 2,000 times a year at St. Antonius Hospital and the risks are very small. The surgeons are used to working with cameras and an audience around them. Students who have to learn the trade regularly witness these types of operations. Charles Groenhuijsen emphasizes the need for attention to cardiovascular diseases in the broadcast of ‘Operation Live’. Besides cancer, cardiovascular disease is one of the greatest threats to our health. A live broadcast has more impact on viewers and attracts more audiences. Advice on preventing cardiovascular disease, in combination with showing open heart surgery, should make people more aware of the dangers. But showing the operation can also reassure people who have to undergo such an operation themselves. It is a relatively safe procedure.