A surgeon in India has successfully performed the first remote heart surgery on a patient who was lying on an operating table 20 miles away.
During the procedure, the CorPath GRX robot—developed by a company called Corindus—inserted a small instrument called a stent in order to open blood vessels in the heart, according to a paper published in EClinicalMedicine. The operation, called percutaneous coronary intervention, is often performed in patients who have a condition called atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up in the blood vessels, restricting blood flow.
The long-distance procedure was performed by Dr. Tejas Patel of the Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. "I am honored to have been a part of this medical milestone," Patel told ZDNet. "The application of telerobotics for remote treatment has the potential to impact a significant number of lives by providing access to specialized care that may not otherwise be possible.”
Previous procedures using the CorPath GRX robot have included a Robotic Control Workstation, which is typically situated a few feet from the operating table. The workstation includes multiple joysticks that the operating surgeon uses to control the robot, and it has screens that show what different components of the robot are doing and seeing.
For this procedure, the team set up an identical remote workstation that was connected to the robot through a high-speed internet connection. The researchers also set up cameras in the operating room that fed additional footage of the procedure to Dr. Patel, and a pair of surgeons stationed inside the operating room supervised the procedure.
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