Interventional cardiology

Robotic PCI – gimmick or great leap forward for cardiology?


A demonstration of ‘robot’ PCI at a European angiography meeting has divided cardiologists about its real world potential.

Dr Jean Fajadet at the Clinique Pasteur in Toulouse, France carried out a demo of robotic-assisted PCI for LAD/D1 bifurcation, using commercial CorPath GRX technology operating from a separate room.

The technology, which is said to have the advantage of reducing operator and patients exposure to radiation, was broadcast live to delegates attending the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EuroPCR 2019) meeting 700km away in Paris on 22 May.

Several cardiologists attending the meeting expressed their amazement and admiration of technology, saying it appeared to have the same precision and effectiveness as hands-on PCI.

Some even went as far as saying it could become an everyday tool for the interventional cardiologist in the same way that robotic surgery has been widely adopted for use in urology and neurosurgery.

However others were less than convinced, saying  the robotic PCI technology still had a long way to progress before becoming an acceptable alternative to standard PCI.

It was the first demonstration of robotic-assisted PCI in Europe, but the #EuroPCR2019 conference heard from Dr William Lombardi of the University of Washington Heart Institute, who described the his experience of more than 140 procedures with robotic-assisted PCI using the new systems.

A recent review of robotic PCI technology systems concluded it could “improve operator safety by reducing ionizing radiation exposure and can improve procedural quality and outcomes by offering better accuracy in stent selection.

“Telerobotic PCI systems hold the potential to reduce costs and improve global access to coronary care by allowing interventional cardiologists to perform off‐site procedures in remote locations.”

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