Over the past 15 years, we have seen tremendous progress in the techniques and treatments available to patients in the cardiac cath lab. Thanks to innovations and technological development, patients that used to require open-heart surgery, or worse, not survived their condition, can now be treated utilizing the minimally invasive techniques available in the cath lab. However, the advancement of these procedures has come at expense of the health and safety of physicians and staff in the cath lab who endure exposure to radiation during each procedure and, as a result, spend long hours wearing heavy lead protective gear.
New therapeutic modalities including the use of robotic technology can potentially benefit patients by enhancing precision while simultaneously improving physician and potentially staff safety. For physicians, the ability to perform cases from the protection of a radiation shielded cockpit limits exposure to radiation and simultaneously allows physicians a break from wearing ergonomically and orthopedically challenging lead protective equipment. During robotic-assisted PCI, staff may have the ability to step farther away from the X-ray source to reduce their radiation exposure as well.
It is paramount to educate interventional cardiologists, fellows, and allied health professionals in training about robotic innovations and staff safety in the cath lab if we are to have a safe, cutting-edge cath lab. Robotic-assisted PCI is already being used for the treatment of complex anatomy including total occlusions, left main and multivessel disease, and procedures requiring hemodynamic support.
During the annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) Conference, physicians from UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center presented an abstract on several complex, high risk PCI procedures entitled “Feasibility of Robotic Percutaneous Coronary Intervention for Unprotected Left Main Stenosis in the Presence and Absence of Left Ventricular Hemodynamic Support with Impella.” The study demonstrated that robotics was successful in the treatment of high risk PCI, delivering benefits for both patients and physicians.
For patients, robotics may provide tools to extend the capabilities of physicians utilizing robotic precision and potentially enhanced device control. As demonstrated in this abstract and during live cases performed at the San Diego Cardiovascular Interventions (SDCI) course, using robotic assistance can allow physicians to navigate complex anatomy, even in high risk patients, with the benefits of radiation protection and robotic precision.
Be on the lookout for upcoming blog posts highlighting other abstracts presented at TCT 2015 including radial access robotic PCI and incidence of longitudinal geographic miss in robotic vs. manual PCI.
Want more information on how to improve operator safety during complex PCI? Download our free issue brief!