World’s First Remote Heart Operation Using Robotic Arm

We’re upon a world first for remote medical procedure as Dr. André Ng is all set to perform the first ever heart rhythm treatment operation using the Catheter Robotics Remote Catheter Manipulation System. Dr. Ng will be able to perform the procedure from a remote location outside of the radiation zone using a robotic arm.

This procedure will take place at the Glenfield Hospital Leicester thanks to additional help and expertise from the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester.

The procedure Dr. Ng will conduct involves inserting thin wires (catheters) into veins near the groin and moving them through to the heart chambers. The catheters contain electrodes that will record and stimulate parts of the heart in order for Dr. Ng to identify the cause of the problem in the patient. Once the cause of the issue is found, the device will “burn” the tissue around the problem area to fix the abnormality. The procedure, called catheter ablation has been used for the past twenty years or so but never before using remote robotics technology.

From Dr. Ng:

The new Robotic procedure is an important step forward because, while some procedures are straightforward, others can take several hours. Because X-rays are used to allow the doctor to monitor what is going on inside the patient, it means that doctors standing close to the patient wear radiation shields such as lead aprons which are burdensome. Protracted procedures can lead to clinician fatigue and high cumulative radiation exposure.

The benefit of the Robotics system to the patient is that movement of the catheter could be done with great precision. It is anticipated that further developments of the system may allow complex procedures to be made more streamlined. On the other hand, benefits to the doctor are that heavy lead aprons would not be necessary as he / she will be controlling the movements of the catheter using the Remote Controller at a distance from the patient outside the radiation area and that he / she can be sitting closer to the monitors displaying electrical signals and x-ray images as opposed to standing at some distance across the room from them which is current practice.

Dr. André Ng is Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester and Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester.

More on the Remote Catheter Manipulation System (RCMS, Catheter Robotics Inc.):

The Remote Catheter Manipulation System (RCMS, Catheter Robotics Inc., New Jersey) is a new system and Dr André Ng, who has extensive experience in EPS procedures, has been selected to apply the system in human studies for the first time in the world. Two other remote navigation systems are commercially available but one uses a huge magnetic field to control a magnetic tip catheter whilst the other uses a large deflectable sheath to move the catheter. The RCMS has the benefit of using standard EPS catheters which can be dismounted and remounted onto the system with ease. The technology has obtained CE mark through rigorous bench safety testing and pre-clinical studies and has now arrived at a stage where it can be applied to clinical procedures.

More on Dr. André Ng:

Dr Ng is an expert in the management of heart rhythm disturbances especially in catheter ablation and the use of mapping systems in such procedures. The Department of Cardiology at Glenfield Hospital is one of the largest Electrophysiology Centres in the UK performing over 600 EPS procedures every year. Dr Ng has a distinguished research profile in investigations into cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmia mechanisms, leading both non-clinical and clinical teams of talented researchers. At the cutting edge of scientific research and development, the innovative work in his group has been acknowledged with many accolades including Young Investigator and Da Vinci Awards. He is also Director of pan-European training programmes on advanced three-dimensional mapping systems and arrhythmia ablation.

Source: University of Leicester and Glenfield Hospital
Photo Credit: Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register (first image), Catheter Robotics (product shot), University of Leicester (Dr. Ng)

Press Release can be obtained here.

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