Any surgical procedure opening the heart and exposing one or more of its chambers, most often to repair valve disease or correct congenital heart malformations (see congenital heart disease). Invention of the heart-lung machine (see artificial heart), which allows the heart to be stopped during surgery, made it possible. The first successful open-heart surgery was performed in the U.S. in 1953 by John H. Gibbon, Jr., to close an atrial septal defect.
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