Every year, nearly 100,000 people die from blood clots in the lungs. Steve, 54, came close to being one of those fatalities. Watch as doctors perform a pulmonary thromboendarterectomy, a potentially life-threatening surgery that makes the patient's heart stop for 20 minutes and drains his blood, which allows them to see and remove the clots.
The following video contains footage of actual medical procedures and is graphic in nature.
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Travis: Our camera is going to the operating all the time for break through surgeries, the stakes are often pretty high, but we've never ever shown a surgery like this one; doctors literally had a raise against the clock for Steves life. Steve: At this moment I want to give my daughter a big hug. Stuart Jamieson: These clots travel up the legs and through the body, and they get trapped. So, after a while there is no blood flow, there is no medical treatment, there is no blood dissolving treatment. We've got a surgical go in and take it out. This is the incision in the front of the chest. We've now expose that part that the heart is very enlarged and very distended and it's not breathing properly. It's a very delicate operation, any margin for having the patient to die. So, very, very important to see exactly what we're doing, and the only way you can see exactly what we're doing taking all the blood out. So, these patients are actually clinically dead. The blood is coming out of his body, its going through that machine, it oxygenates the blood, and it passes it through a heating and cooling surface. So that machine knows he's completely taken over the function of his heart. We do it for 20 minutes of the time, if you can't get it done in that 20 minute period that's really serious. Okay, go ahead and arrest you can go back. Just 20 minutes. Stuart Jamieson: You can look at the heart now and see its not moving at all, it's completely arrested and so he will also have a flat ECG. So, I'm now going to make an incision in the pulmonary artery. From this moment, there is no blood at all that is going through his body, I'm seeing if some of that is clot out, you know the most incredible thing is if somebody can stay alive and breath when their lungs, which is blocked up with all these materials. Just 10 minutes. Stuart Jamieson: The stakes are too high, enough to get everything out and all it all goes into the lung plank. 5 minutes. Travis: An absolutely amazing surgery and as you could see Steve's case was Touch and go. It's been four weeks to set that risky surgery, but Steve is a new man, you really got to comparably make it up flight of stairs. Well, Steve I want you to come up here and show everyone what is like, get up this stairs right now. Come on all. Does he look like a sick man? We're talking before you came up here, your condition is improved so much in four weeks that you are actually what breathe it all. Steve: Well, I tell you a truth I think I walked about three quarters of mile through Dallas airport the other day with a 50 pound bag and was looking for more. So it feels good, I'm telling you. Travis: An unbelievable surgery cool and in body that 60 degrees, basically inducing death. So, you can save his life. Stuart Jamieson: The key to the surgery is that we half freeze him, we go from 95 degrees freezing 32, so we go to about 60, and because he is the state of suspended animation, we've got the ability to do completely stop the circulation. No blood flow to his brain, heart, kidneys any part of his body for 20 minutes at a time. Travis: Now, is he good in terms of blood clots in his lungs? Stuart Jamieson: They won't come back and he is going to be normal for the rest of his life.

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