In a path breaking development on Wednesday, leading Ahmedabad-based cardiologist Tejas Patel performed the world’s first in-human telerobotic coronary intervention on a patient nearly 32 km away.
Dr. Patel, sitting in Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, controlled the robots that performed the telestenting surgery on a patient lying in the operation theatre at Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad. The middle aged woman suffered a heart attack some days ago. She had agreed to volunteer for the procedure.
The Apex Heart Institute set up by Dr. Patel, a Padma Shri awardee, is the first facility outside the U.S. to introduce robotic procedures for heart-related surgeries. Dr. Patel used CorPath GRX, a vascular robotic system developed by the U.S.-based Corindus. CorPath GRX’s robotic stenting is said to provide accuracy of sub-1 mm, against a surgeon’s 5-10 mm.
The surgery was watched by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and priests of the Akshardham Temple. Its success is expected to pave the way for large-scale, long-distance telerobotic platforms across the globe.
“It is a landmark event for interventional medicine. Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the number one cause of death worldwide... nearly 18 million a year,” Dr. Patel told media persons after the surgery.
He said application of telerobotics in India had the potential to impact a significant number of lives by providing access to care that may not otherwise have been possible.
Moreover, the platform had the potential to improve patient access to both elective and emergency percutaneous coronary interventions in rural and under-served populations and reduce treatment time for procedures such as STEMI.
The robotic system comprises three parts — a cath lab-integrated robotic arm, a cockpit from where the cardiologist commands the robot using a joystick, and a replaceable cassette that carries the clinical materials for each individual case requirement.