Robotic Cardiac Surgery

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Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Robots are ubiquitous nowadays & can be found in houses, in cars, in various industries inside buildings & in places we fail to observe. Presently, this technology has advanced to an extent that it allows for innovatory robotic systems to be implemented in healthcare industry as well. Robotics in cardiac surgery is a fairly new concept, yet advancing. As per recent health reports, 60 percent of the people aged between 45 – 70 years suffer from mild to severe cardiac diseases. Mortality rate of patients with cardiac illnesses is also high. Robotics in medicine, especially in cardiology, is having many advantages & benefits for both patients & doctors. This concept is introduced in the field of cardiac surgery because it allows for noteworthy control & fidelity of surgical devices in minimally invasive techniques. Robotic cardiac surgery efficiently implements robots that are able to perform various cardiac procedures such as, beating-heart surgery & closed-chest, in collaboration with specially trained cardiac surgeons.

What is Robotic Cardiac Surgery?

Robot-assisted or robotic cardiac surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. This surgery involves a computer console supervising robotic arm mounted surgical machines & equipment. This proficient technology allows cardiac surgeons to execute complicated heart surgeries with high level of accuracy for both surgical incision & motion control. Incisions are however very small & are less than two inches in size. The biggest benefit of robotic cardiac surgery is that this procedure is minimally invasive as compared to other forms of cardiac surgeries. It signifies that patients will heal faster & return to daily routine activities more quickly.

Main Causes of Cardiac Diseases

There can be various reasons due to which heart diseases are caused. Main causes of cardiac diseases are outlined below.

  • High Blood Pressure – When blood pressure of patients is high, it can damage blood vessels. High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for formation of cardiac disease.
  • Smoking – Smoking is also a significant factor which may lead to narrowing of blood vessels & ultimately to cardiac disease.
  • High Cholesterol – Cholesterol is simply a fatty substance which is found in blood. If patients have high cholesterol, it can increase the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a dreadful condition that causes patient’s blood sugar level to become extremely high. It can damage blood vessels & make them more likely to become hardened & narrowed.
  • Inactivity – When patients do not exercise regularly, they may develop high blood pressure & high cholesterol levels. All of these factors may eventually lead to cardiac disease.
  • Obesity – Being obese increases chances of developing cardiac disease.

Signs & Symptoms of Cardiac Disease

Although various cardiovascular diseases usually have different symptoms, several have the same warning signs. When patients are regularly experiencing any of the following symptoms, they should immediately consult a cardiac surgeon.

  • Extreme Fatigue – When patients experience extreme tiredness.
  • Constant Lightheadedness – When patients experience a consistent state of dizziness.
  • Heart Rate – Fast heart rate usually more than 100 beats per minute may indicate cardiac disease.
  • Irregular Heartbeat – An irregular heartbeat in patients signifies condition of arrhythmia.
  • Pain in Chest – Discomfort & pain in chest during any physical activity which goes away with rest indicates a bad heart condition.
  • Heavy Breathing – Difficulty in breathing during regular physical activities or rest signifies heart trouble.
  • Infection – Cough or respiratory infection that becomes worse is a sign of heart problem.
  • Restlessness – When changes in sleep patterns & restlessness are observed, patients should undergo a heart check-up.
  • Loss of Appetite – Sudden loss of appetite may be a strong indication of heart disease.

Types of Robot-Assisted Cardiac Surgeries

There are various types of cardiac surgeries which are being performed robotically depending upon the condition of patients to be treated. They are elaborated as follows.

  • Robotic Cardiac Valve Surgery – Robotic tricuspid & mitral valve repair surgery can be performed in cases of valve regurgitation.
  • Robotic Cardiac Bypass Surgery – It is also known as minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass graft surgery. This procedure is performed without opening the chest wall of patients & done off-pump, that is, without using a heart-lung device. It is one of the least invasive surgery for cardiac bypass. Robotic cardiac surgery needs three tiny incisions between patient’s ribs. A robotic arm drives surgical tools & it is guided by motion sensors so that appropriate motion can be commanded by the cardiac surgeon.
  • Robotic Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Repair & Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Repair – Robotic heart surgery for PFO & ASD repair are executed by accumulating a tiny area of pericardial tissue & stitching it over the defect.
  • Robotic Procedure for Cardiac Implants like Pacemakers – In a robotic biventricular pacemaker or defibrillator implant, endoscopic equipment & tools are controlled by cardiac surgeons but performed by reliable robotic arms through tiny incisions on patient’s chest-wall.
  • Robotic Atrial Fibrillation Surgery – During this surgical procedure, endoscopically regulated robotic arm opens the pericardium & inserts catheter for diminishing & correcting irregular heart rhythm of patients.
  • Robotic Cardiac Tumor Surgery – Generally, left atrial tumor which enhances risk of stroke in patients can also be eliminated robotically.

Diagnosing Serious Cardiac Disease

Cardiac surgeons will look for certain symptoms of cardiac diseases in patients. They may evaluate medical & family history of the patient, they will also check blood pressure & also perform blood tests to examine cholesterol level of patients. However, heart disease is mostly diagnosed after several major tests. These tests are listed below.

  • Electrocardiogram – Although an ECG can identify problems with heart rhythm of patients, a different reading does not always signify there is anything wrong with heart of patients.
  • X-ray Test – This test may be used to obtain images of the heart, chest wall & lungs.
  • Echocardiogram Test – This test is identical to the ultrasound test used in the pregnancy phase of women. It generates an image of patient’s heart using sound waves. The test can detect the pumping function of patient’s heart.
  • Blood Tests – In addition to above tests, patients may require to undergo several blood tests to monitor activity of their heart.
  • Coronary Angiography – It is also called a cardiac catheter test. It is able to identify whether coronary arteries are hardened & severity of heart blockage.
  • Radionuclide Tests – These tests can show how strongly patient’s heart pumps & track flow of blood to their muscular walls of heart.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging Test – It can be used to create a detailed picture of patient’s heart. It uses radio waves & magnetic field for producing images.
  • Computerized Tomography Scan – A CT scan uses a computer & X-ray to produce images of patient’s intrinsic structures.

Preparing for Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Cardiac surgeons will do a complete evaluation of certain factors including medical history, age & lifestyle as well as seriousness of heart disease. This will be helpful in deciding whether patients are good candidates for robotic cardiac surgery.

  • Physical Examination – Cardiac surgeons may ask patients to undergo physical examination to ensure that they are in sound health before robotic cardiac surgery.
  • Aspirin – Cardiac surgeons may suggest taking an aspirin prior to robotic cardiac surgery.
  • Pregnancy – When patients are pregnant or suspect that they are pregnant, they should honestly inform their cardiac surgeons before undergoing the procedure.
  • Allergy – Patients should notify their surgeons if they are sensitive to or are allergic to any specific tape, medications, contrast dyes, iodine, latex & any anesthetic agents.
  • Medications – Patients should tell their surgeons about the medications & herbal supplements that they are currently taking.
  • Pacemaker – Patients should clearly tell their surgeons if they are having a pacemaker implant.
  • Smoking – In case patients smoke, they should quit before their surgery in order to heal faster & without any complications.
  • Food Consumption – Patients will be told to fast for 6 hours before their robotic cardiac surgery & usually stopping drinking, eating or any oral medications after midnight.

Based upon patient’s health condition, cardiac surgeons may request any other type of preparation.

Questions to Ask Cardiac Surgeons about Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Cardiac surgeons will explain the entire procedure to patients & ask if they have any doubts or queries. Patients may take the help of the following list of questions to clear their doubts if any.

  • Does a robot perform cardiac surgery? Is it a safe procedure?
  • Who are considered to be best candidates for robotic cardiac surgery?
  • What are the major benefits of robotic cardiac surgery?
  • What is robotic cardiac surgery & how is it performed?
  • Why should I choose robotic cardiac surgery instead of traditional cardiac surgery?
  • What can I expect before, during & after robotic cardiac surgery?
  • How does robotic cardiac surgery compare with other surgical alternatives for heart diseases?
  • How long has robotic cardiac surgery been executed?
  • What will happen if robotic instruments fail during the procedure?
  • How long does it take to complete robotic cardiac surgery?
  • How much time will I have to stay in the hospital after my robotic cardiac surgery?
  • Will I be able to return back to normal physical relations after my surgery?
  • When will I completely recover after robotic cardiac surgery?

Patients will be told to sign a consent form that allows doctors to conduct the procedure. Patients should read the form carefully & then proceed further.

Robotic Cardiac Surgery Procedure

Following is a common sequence of steps that will most likely be executed during robotic cardiac surgery.

  • Sedative – Patients may receive a sedative before their robotic cardiac surgery to help them relax.
  • Anesthesia – Normally, patients will be placed under general anesthesia for their surgical procedure & a breathing tube will be provided.
  • Incision – Cardiac surgeons will create a number of keyhole-sized incisions on the side of patient’s chest & they will be aligned with the openings between the ribs. Accuracy-guided robotic equipment (arms) will be inserted through these tiny incisions. A small video camera will be planted into another incision to extract a clear 3-D image of the operating site.
  • Closing Incisions – Cardiac surgeons will regulate these robotic arms & camera from a special console situated within the operating theater. After completion of this procedure, surgeons will pull off the instruments & close various incisions.

Patients should talk to the cardiac surgeon in detail about what they will experience after their robotic cardiac surgery.

Recovery Following Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Patients will be monitored after completion of robotic cardiac surgery. Patients can expect a short hospital stay to follow till pain comes under control. Due to less invasive nature of robotic cardiac surgery, patients can expect minimal scarring on chest. Post-surgical pain also dissolves much faster when compared to traditional cardiac surgeries. Patients will be able to return back to daily activities more quickly than they would after a traditional cardiac surgery. Most patients can resume routine activities after two weeks. Particular recommendations for activity will be given by surgeons. Cardiac surgeons will generally schedule follow-up appointments after robotic cardiac surgery to check patient’s progress.

Risks & Complications of Robotic Cardiac Surgery

Complications are rarely seen after robotic cardiac surgery, but it is still possible; so it is necessary to carefully monitor for any specific symptoms & report them to cardiac surgeons as & when they happen. Robotic cardiac surgery involves use of anesthesia & as with any type of cardiac surgery, there are always some risks involved & which are listed below.

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Re-operation
  • Death

In certain cases, cardiac surgeons may not be able to finish surgery with the help of robotic arms. In such cases, patients would require open-heart surgery. Patients may have some other risks as well, depending upon their specific health conditions.

Robotic Cardiac Surgery Outcomes

Robotic cardiac surgery has clear positive results identical to those of a traditional heart surgery. Restoration of required flow of blood & delivery of sufficient oxygen & nutrients to the heart or proper functioning of heart is noticeable after robot-assisted cardiac surgery. This surgery, though has added benefits of tiny incisions, fewer chances of complications, faster recovery & execution of surgery are also possible in high-risk situations. Compared with conventional cardiac surgery, advantages of robotic cardiac surgery include the following.

  • Tiny incisions with less scarring
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Minimal trauma to patients including extremely less pain
  • Fewer pain medications
  • Mild bleeding
  • Decreased risk of infection

In addition to these benefits, patients can resume daily activities & work as soon as they feel like doing so. There are no particular activity limitations after robotic cardiac surgery as well.

Medical Tourism in India for Advanced Robotic Cardiac Surgery

India has marked a new level of success in the field of medical tourism industry. Indian doctors have the credit of efficiently executing robotic cardiac surgery for heart diseases. India is gaining recognition internationally due to the practice of robotic cardiac surgery at very economical cost.These key factors are driving thousands of international patients for various cardiac surgeries including the latest robotic cardiac surgery in India.

Affordable Advanced Robotic Cardiac Surgery with Travcure Medical Tourism

Travcure Medical Tourism is one of the most highly reputed global health tourism companies in India. Travcure is associated with the best cardiac surgeons & healthcare centers in India. Caring & compassionate healthcare professionals at Travcure offer international patients the best healthcare deals for robotic cardiac surgery in India. Wide range of hassle-free facilities offered to global patients at Travcure Medical Tourism begins right from their arrival in India till their departure after successful medical procedures. When patients undergo their robotic cardiac surgery in India through Travcure they may end up saving up to 30 – 70 percent of their medical expenses compared to what they would have been spending anywhere else.

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