Holiday Hours

With the exception of Inova hospitals, Inova Emergency Care and Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care, all Inova outpatient offices will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday – Monday, May 27.

group in domeThe Dome Experience program is a unique educational offering that invites community members to witness open-heart surgeries firsthand while learning how healthy – and not-so-healthy – lifestyles can impact their own heart health.


The Dome Experience: Pre-reading Material

My Dome Experience

By Jamie Gentille, Walden University

Once we arrived at the Dome, we took a pre-test to test our knowledge of heart disease, health effects and risk factors. After the test, a cardiac nurse talked to us before we observed the actual surgery.

I observed a coronary artery bypass surgery, during which the doctors graft the saphenous vein from the leg onto the coronary artery. It was fascinating. There was a sixth grade class in the Dome also, observing. They were in awe.

The procedure lasted over three hours. The nurse explained what the surgeons were doing step by step. She did a great job relating the surgical procedures to behaviors. The patient had been a smoker for 20 years, so the nurse talked about how smoking affects cardiovascular health.

The patient was also significantly overweight. You could see exactly how much fatty tissue, called adipose tissue, that the surgeons had to cut through to get to both the saphenous vein and the chest cavity.

The nurse passed around vials of saturated fat that were equivalent to different foods such as potato chips, hamburgers and candy bars. Many of the kids were shocked and said that they would never eat those foods again. All the teaching methods were concrete and truly promoted our understanding of how behaviors can affect health.

After the surgery, we took a post-test to assess how much our health knowledge improved as a result of the program. I think the Dome Program provides very tangible health education information. To actually witness the surgical procedure really drove home the teaching points. The Dome is a great educational resource.

The Dome Experience, a free community program offered by Inova Schar Heart and Vascular, is a unique educational offering that invites community members (ranging in age from teens to seniors) to witness open heart surgeries firsthand while learning how healthy (and not-so-healthy) lifestyles can impact their own heart health. The Dome program is especially popular with middle school and high school students, but other community members are welcome as well.
Students must be in at least seventh grade.


Due to the extremely high demand for this program, we may need to limit the number of Dome visits awarded to a single school or organization. This is a free program with a limited calendar of available surgery-days, so we must do our best to give all students and community members an equal chance to attend. Attempting to game the system will result in a withdrawl of Dome invitations for future visits.

School groups

Each teacher or group leader must fill out this form separately and must use their official school email address. To ensure fairness for everyone who may wish to visit the Dome, limits may be placed on the total number of Dome sessions given to any one school.

Maximum group size

Each Dome session can accommodate up to 20 individuals total. The total number of people, including all chaperones and students, cannot be greater than 20. Please plan carefully if you are requesting a reservation for a class.

Rules of the Dome

RESPECT OUR PATIENTS: The cases presented in the Dome are real, lifesaving surgeries. As such, the Dome is not to be used for a social gathering or casual drop-in. Our wait lists are very long, so do not take a Dome session for granted – sign up only if you are certain you can come, and let us know immediately if you know you cannot attend. 

SCHEDULING: Due to the nature of healthcare and live surgery schedules, a Dome session may be cancelled without notice due to surgical schedules, hospital emergencies, or individual patient cases. 

TEACHERS: Teachers are NOT authorized to make the Dome a required part of their school curriculum because we cannot guarantee enough dates to accommodate all the classes who wish to attend.

ADVERTISING: Schools, adult-learning programs, and any non-Inova organizations are NOT authorized to advertise the Dome in their print or online course lists.   

Because a very small and dedicated staff at Inova provides free access to the Dome as a unique community service, we must ask all visitors to respect our hospital, our rules, and our patients' lives. Thank you – we look forward to meeting you at the Dome.

Ready to request your visit to the Dome?

Please fill out the form below and we will begin processing your request. Submitting this form is not a guarantee of a particular date and time. Thank you for your interest in the Dome.

*The total, including all visitors and chaperones, cannot exceed 20.
Please give us your day of the week preferences (check all that apply)
*Please note there is no Dome on weekends, and limited Wednesdays are available. We will try our best to accommodate all preferences requested.
Please provide your time of year preferences (check all that apply):
Please provide any additional information we may need to process your request.
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