In a move that can change the norms of cardiology, Gujarat-based interventional cardiologist Dr. Tejas Patel has developed robotic technology for coronary intervention, a first in Asia. With the help of a robot, Dr. Patel has started robotic-assisted stenting on heart patients in his Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad.
“So far, we have successfully conducted more than 50 angioplasty surgeries since commercial installation of vascular robotic system,” Dr. Patel told media persons, announcing that the new method of treatment is likely to revolutionise how cardiovascular diseases are treated in the country.
He added that this is the first and the only Vascular Robotic system outside the United States.
“With the help of robotics, we get higher rate of accuracy and precision in carrying out stenting and other complex surgeries,” he said, adding it will also lead to tele-stenting (ability to stent patients at remote locations.)
The USFDA-approved robotic technology for coronary angioplasty or stenting provides accuracy of sub-1 millimetre, as against maximum possible 5-10 millimetres in case of humans.
The robotic system comprises of three parts namely a cath lab-integrated robotic arm, a cockpit — from where the cardiologists will command the robot through joystick — and a replaceable-cassette that carries the clinical materials for each individual case requirements.
Costing about US $1.5 million, the robotic system has in-built artificial intelligence which helps cardiologists take sound clinical judgements
The first robotic-assisted stenting was performed via right dorsal transradial access by Dr. Patel with his partner Dr. Sanjay Shah. So far the duo has performed operations using CorPath GRX for complex cases such as patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and chronic total occlusion (CTO).
“It is little costly [sic] than normal procedure done manually but we are keen to popularise the use of new technology so we will support those patients who can’t afford [it] and will also train cardiologists to adopt the new technology,” said the Padma Shri award-winning Dr. Patel.
Dr. Patel has been a pioneer of the transradial access technique (angioplasty/stenting through the wrist artery), and has trained over 5000 cardiologists on this technique. He is also working on a possibility of remotely performing operations using the robotic technology. An experiment in this regard is underway at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota where he is involved with team of experts from Mayo.
In India, an estimated 50 million people are suffering from the heart diseases, while only 500,000 angioplasty surgeries were conducted in 2016, suggesting a huge scope for widening of the treatment.