Jul 312012

In clinical trials, the cockpit reduced exposure of surgeons by 95 percent

When we think about a heart operation, it’s only natural to be concerned about the risks faced by the patient. What is overlooked is that the surgeon often faces risks in the operating theater as well. All the modern surgical paraphernalia may make cardiac medicine tremendously more advanced than it was a generation ago, but some of that equipment uses radiation that can be very dangerous to be around … and surgeons are around it a lot. To help alleviate this, Corindus Vascular Robotics of Natick, Massachusetts, developed the CorPath 200 System. It’s a robot-assisted catheter system for unblocking arteries that allows cardiac surgeons to operate from a protective lead-lined cockpit while carrying out cardiac stent and balloon procedures.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) is a surgical cardiac procedure used to repair or prevent damage to the heart due to blocked or damaged heart arteries. It does this by means of either a stent or a balloon inserted at the end of a catheter into a major artery, usually in the leg, and navigated up to the heart. A stent is a mesh tube inserted into a failing artery to reinforce it like putting braces on the wall of a mine tunnel. A balloon is what is sounds like – it is moved to the site of a blockage in a heart artery and inflated to push the blockage aside and improve blood flow.

PCIs are very successful and common. Over 95,000 procedures a year are performed in the United States alone. The only problem is that the procedure requires the use of X-ray imagers to monitor and control the catheter’s movement and the rest of the operation. With the surgeon sitting next to the patient, that’s a lot of radiation exposure. There’s already a means of radiation protection in the form of heavy lead aprons and jackets, but they don’t provide full protection and can cause their own health problems due to their weight.

CorPath 200

CorPath 200 takes its cue from the nuclear power industry. If it’s too dangerous to be around radiation, then stay away and let a robot do the dirty work. CorPath is the first robotic-assisted system for stent and balloon procedures. It allows surgeons to operate from a lead-lined cockpit in the same room as the patient, yet remain protected against dangerous exposure to X-rays.

In clinical trials, the cockpit reduced exposure of surgeons by 95 percent and there’s no need for traditional aprons.

Read more . . .

via Gizmag – 

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