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The Methodist Hospital opens country’s most advanced robotic operating room

Houston, TX - 7/26/2010

The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center today opened the country’s most advanced hybrid, robotic operating room. The new suite integrates advanced robotics, imaging and navigation with surgery to offer patients the least invasive and safest surgical and interventional treatments for cardiovascular disease.

The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center's advanced hybrid, robotic operating room

"The new suite is perfectly designed for advanced procedures like the percutaneous valve, in which we will replace a patient’s diseased cardiac valve through a tiny puncture hole in the groin," said Dr. Alan Lumsden, chair of cardiovascular surgery at Methodist. "The crystal clear 3D imaging we’ll have in this new room will enable us to maneuver the valve into place and position it much more accurately and precisely than ever before. This is vitally important in such an advanced technique."

As medicine becomes less invasive for the patient, the new hybrid, robotic OR blurs the lines between an operating room and a catheterization lab. It houses a highly flexible robotic system, the Siemens Artis Zeego, which makes it easy for physicians to visualize a patient’s internal organs from all angles, reducing the need for exploratory surgery and improving diagnostic capabilities without incisions.

Attached to the end of the flexible robotic arm is a high-speed CT scanner that instantly creates three dimensional images of complex anatomy or overlapping blood vessels. This system helps guide the physician with clear views of the patient’s blood vessel disease, cardiac blockages, dissected aorta or calcified valves, for example.

"The suite further strengthens Methodist’s advanced cardiovascular robotics capabilities," added Lumsden, who is also the medical director of the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. "It is the interface of three dimensional imaging and robotic navigation which will permit increased accuracy in advanced endovascular procedures."

In addition to the robotic CT arm, the hybrid OR will also house a robotic catheter guidance system. Using the Hansen robot to help control the movement of the catheter makes the procedures more precise and safe, he said. It also helps physicians guide catheters to previously impossible-to-reach locations in the heart or vascular system. When the robot can guide the catheter through tight, twisting anatomy, it can prevent patients from having to have open surgery. Research conducted by Methodist surgeons has recently shown less blood vessel damage when using the Hansen Robot.

Like the most advanced gaming systems, the Hansen robotic technology incorporates tactile feedback for the cardiologists as they view visual feedback on high definition monitors, making guidance more intuitive for the surgeon.

"In all, we are now infinitely more flexible in what we can do for our patients, because this technology adds a level of visualization and accuracy that has not been seen before in the cath lab or in existing hybrid operating rooms," Lumsden said. "Clearer visualization lets surgeons and cardiologists perform real-time fine-tuning of surgical procedures on the fly, which is common in open surgery, but has been more difficult in interventional procedures in the past."

The new suite also supports Methodist’s comprehensive program dedicated to valve disease, including a valve clinic and a regular valve conference at which all valve patients’ cases are reviewed by a multidisciplinary team to ensure the best care. Methodist also has a cerebral vascular monitoring team who specialize in transcranial Doppler imaging to watch and protect patients against stroke, the most common and debilitating side effect of the percutaneous valve implant procedure and other cardiac procedures, Lumsden said.

Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

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