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Durham VA Medical Center

 

Durham VA performs first robotic-assisted vascular procedure in Triangle region

December 28, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. —The Durham VA Health Care System announced today the successful completion of the first robotic-assisted coronary angioplasty in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Durham’s Catheterization Laboratory Director, Dr. Rajesh Swaminathan, performed the procedure using Corindus Vascular Robotics CorPath System. The system is the only FDA-cleared medical device to bring robotic-assisted precision to coronary angioplasty procedures while protecting medical professionals from potential radiation exposure in the catheterization laboratories.

“The first case with the CorPath System was very successful. Sitting away from the x-ray source in a radiation-protected area, I was able to use a joystick to advance the interventional devices, millimeter by millimeter through the artery,” said Swaminathan. “Combining the enhanced visualization of the angiographic images with robotic precision will transform the way we perform angioplasty procedures and should ultimately improve patient care.”

Coronary artery disease, characterized by the plaque buildup that restricts blood flow in the arteries, is a widespread and life-threatening condition. It is the most common form of heart disease and the leading cause of death in America. Traditionally, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), commonly known as an angioplasty is the most common treatment for CAD. In this procedure, a balloon is used to physically open an artery blockage and help improve blood flow. During the angioplasty, interventional cardiologists often use stents, a wire metal mesh tube, to prop open the artery and keep it open following the procedure. While angioplasty procedures remain one of the most frequent performed procedures in the United States, with over 600,000 cases annually, the procedure itself has remained largely unchanged for decades.

“An aging baby boomer population is driving demands for new, innovative technologies to treat CAD,” said Dr. Sunil Rao, Durham’s Chief of Cardiology. “Vascular robotics offers physicians and patients minimally invasive technology that improves the precision of stent and balloon placements and reduces radiation exposure during the procedure for physicians.”

Interventional procedures performed in hospital cath labs are a leading source of radiation exposure for medical personnel and have been linked to the development of cataracts, cancer, and brain and thyroid diseases.

“We are proud to be the first VA medical center and first hospital in the Triangle to implement robotic procedures for heart catheterization. Use of the robot allows for a precise measurement of heart blockages, which may lead to fewer stent implants, and increases the accuracy of stent placement,” said Rao. “The adoption of the CorPath System truly emphasizes our continuous commitment to delivering state-of-the-art technology to Veterans.”