Yash Soni, Assistant Manager of Cath Lab Operations and Chief Technologist at Apex Heart, played a significant role on the core team involved in the Telerobotic Intervention Study. This study marked the first-in-human remote robotic PCI, where interventional cardiologist Dr. Tejas Patel, was located approximately 20 miles away from patients undergoing treatment at the Apex Heart Institute.
Yash and the Apex Heart team became robotic experts after installing CorPath GRX in December 2017, completing over 300 robotic PCI cases. Building a strong foundation of robotic knowledge is the first key step to tackling remote procedures in the future. The team at Apex Heart committed to this philosophy by embracing robotic technology and understanding the impact that remote robotic treatment could have to improve patient care in underserved populations with geographic barriers to treatment.
Learn more about Yash and the robotic program at Apex Heart below.
Tell us about your background and credentials.
YS: I am the Assistant Manager Cath Lab operations, Chief Technologist, and Registered RSO (Radiological Safety Officer) with AERB at APEX HEART INSTITUTE, Ahmedabad, India. I also sit on transradialWORLD.com as Managing Editor, and I have been in the medical imaging world since 1999.
How many robotic procedures have you completed?
YS: Over 325 cases so far (as of February 2019). We expect to perform at least another 450 robotic PCI cases in the calendar year of 2019.
How many cases did it take for you to feel comfortable with robotics?
YS: We committed to performing at least 10 robotic cases in the week of launch. As a team, we agreed that the more cases we did, the quicker we would overcome the learning curve and feel comfortable doing cases every day. By the end of the first week we were doing cases completely independently. We have a very robust robotic program, using the system at least once every day, so I had plenty of opportunity to hone my skills quickly and I continue to improve them each day. I remain dedicated to refining my skills and finding ways to operate the robot at the bedside seamlessly.
What do you like about robotics?
YS: Robotics offers a more sophisticated way of working. I consider it one of the greatest technologies in our field ever introduced. Recent software advances have increased the precision and control of the interventional devices with comparable success rates across PCI subsets. Robotic-assisted PCI increases the accuracy and precision of measuring anatomy and stent positioning. In addition, the system provides enhanced close-up viewing of angiographic images with less exposure to ionizing radiation.
What was your role in the first remote PCI?
YS: I was fascinated by the entire operation and its successful execution. The key to accomplishing this study was integration of the remote robotic technology and the local network infrastructure; which was proven to be successful. This time, I was solely responsible for managing important tasks like preparation of both locations, ILL, patient safety, the imaging system, and assisting Dr. Patel in the live remote robotic procedures. I am very thankful to Dr. Tejas Patel & Dr. Sanjay Shah who have shown their confidence in my ability to accomplish this mammoth task. Initially I was stressed out, but the team at Apex and Team Akashardham whole heartedly supported me.
Many dignitaries attended the first remote procedure. How did it feel being a part of such a momentous occasion?
YS: I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to be a part of this First-in-Man project. I am so proud that this was done for the first time in India and from Apex Heart Institute. The results were everything that we could have expected with all 5 patients receiving successful treatment.
How do you think telerobotics will impact the future of intervention?
YS: I can see it would be a major step forward in making interventional revascularization treatment available to patients with CAD and acute stroke in remote locations.
What's your advice for new robotic techs just beginning a robotic program?
YS: Just do it! Learning new technologies can be intimidating, but with each case you and your team complete, you will feel more comfortable and soon it will be second nature.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the cath lab?
YS: I like spending my time after work with my family, kids are my ultimate happiness ... besides that I like making toys for my little girl :) doing light aerobic exercises, watching news, and it's absolutely joyful visiting relatives.
Apex Heart has put themselves on the forefront of robotic technology. Learn more about the Telerobotic Intervention Study to understand the future of remote robotic intervention. Congratulations to Yash Soni and the Apex Heart team for their great work building a robotic program!
Are you a technologist interested in robotic technology? Contact us here or click to download our free eBook, Guide to Building a Successful Robotic Program.