September 29, 2010

Robotically Assisted Ballon Angioplasty and Stent Placement

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , at 12:20 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by Filomena Scalise

You may have heard of robotically assisted bypass surgery but now there are even more complex machines placing stents in people.

Robotics in a medical setting help to create more precise cuts and movements.  For bypass surgery, robotically assisted open heart has been rumored to create smaller incisions.  The first case of robotically assisted stent placement was reported last week in Washington, DC.

Undergoing a heart stent procedure does not involve large cuts by any means.  There is only a small needlestick in the groin area.  So, how can robotics help in a situation like this?  First, it helps your cardiologist live more comfortably.  When the cardiologist is placing a stent, they are exposed to radiation from the x-rays needed to see where the heart arteries are.  They also must wear a very heavy lead apron to avoid overexposure of radiation to their body.  Robotics can also be helpful with stents by making placement of the stent to certain areas more accurate.  A cardiologist can use a joystick to make the tiniest movements of the catheter and stent.

The technology is still a long way off but I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes much more popular over the next 20 years…assuming we haven’t found a cure for heart disease by then!