A simple, knowledgeable primer for those who've already made the decision for coronary bypass, heart valve repair, or other open-heart procedures. Sociologist Yalof, who counsels heart patients at Newark's Beth Israel Medical Center, doesn't offer advice on whether or not to have surgery; she does cover what patients can expect once the decision is made to go ahead. Open heart surgery is any procedure that involves use of the heart-lung machine: essentially, the heart is stopped (its function replaced by the machine), so that it can be cut directly into. Yalof covers the normal anatomy and functioning of the heart, which risk factors lead to heart disease, and how the diagnosis is made. She then explains the actual procedure, from hospital admittance through the first few days at home. The advice is basic and to the point, leaving it up to the physician to discuss individual variations. Though she provides only brief, sometimes general information on common concerns (sex, exercise, potential for long-term complications), Yalof's outline enables readers facing such an ordeal to know what more to ask. Along with the various first-person accounts, excellent preparation--the best around.