What Is A Heart Lung Machine?

The heart-lung machine is a surgical device used during heart surgery to take over the functions of the heart and lungs. Sometimes referred to as a “pump,” the machine performs the duties of both the heart, pushing blood through the body, and lungs, oxygenated the blood, to keep people alive while the surgeons work on their heart. Dr. Ciuffo uses the machine very regularly in his minimally invasive heart surgery procedures.

heart lung machine diagram

As the heart needs to be stopped during surgery, the heart-lung machine plays a crucial role. Once the surgery is finished, the heart is restarted and the machine is removed.

Jehovah’s Witnesses – For people who cannot accept blood transfusions, the heart-lung machine can keep the entire blood volume in circulation through surgery, so there is no need for blood transfusions.

“Inoperable” Patients – For those who have been diagnosed as “inoperable” due to heavily calcified valves, thus inoperable valves, the machine can be a solution. The machine can be attached to the heart and lungs through a branch of the aorta away from the calcified area.

Learn More About Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Are you interested in learning more about the heart-lung machine or minimally invasive surgery? If you’re considering a second opinion on your heart surgery, please give Dr. Ciuffo and his expert team a call at (330) 588-4676 or contact us online.


A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery