Robots were first used in cardiovascular medicine in the late 1990s as a part of the digital revolution. Since then, robotics have been applied to endovascular surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and interventional cardiology, to name a few fields.
Robots give medical professionals the ability to diagnose, treat, and intervene more efficiently than ever before. Here are some of the amazing ways robots are being used in today's fields of cardiovascular medicine and surgery.
Robots assist in training doctors
Robotic devices are used to help train medical students in a wide range of treatments and surgical techniques. Medical students can practice these techniques on robots without the risk of hurting an actual patient if they make a mistake. Robotic devices can simulate beating hearts, breathing, dilating eyes, and childbirth. Students use these devices to learn how to check vital signs, insert an IV, and deliver babies.
Robots help to diagnose cardiovascular diseases
It's no easy process to get a diagnosis. Masses might be too small to be observed on an X-ray. Trace elements might go undetected on a blood test. In some cases, a diagnostic procedure may be too invasive for an early evaluation. Robotic devices give doctors precise, less invasive diagnostic opportunities. For instance, an echocardiogram is commonly used to diagnose mitral valve regurgitation. A wand-like device (transducer) is held to a patient's chest to produce video images of the heart using sound waves.
Robots allow for less invasive surgeries
An invasive surgery is a procedure involving a large incision. These procedures can take longer to recover from. Robotic surgery allows doctors to perform minimally invasive procedures using very small surgical instruments that fit through quarter-inch incisions. This minimises the risk of infection and reduces recovery time.
One robot that's commonly used in cardiovascular surgeries is the HeartLander. The HeartLander is used to conduct heart surgeries without the doctor needing to open a patient's chest. The robot can sense, map, and treat issues on the entire surface of the heart.
Other cardiovascular surgeries robots can assist with include
Mitral valve repair
Atrial septal defect repair
Doctors can use robotic technology to perform aortic, visceral, and peripheral artery disease. Robotics can also be used in electrophysiology to conduct ablation procedures for atrial fibrillation.