Objective: To follow up in prospective fashion patients with coronary artery anastomoses completed endoscopically with robotic assistance. The robotic system was evaluated for safety and its effectiveness in completing microsurgical coronary anastomoses. Summary Background Data: Recently there has been an interest in using robotics and computers to enhance the surgeon's ability to perform endoscopic cardiac surgery. This interest has stemmed from the rapid advancement of technology and the desire to make cardiac surgery less invasive. Using traditional endoscopic instruments, it has not been possible to perform coronary surgery. Methods: Nineteen patients underwent robotically assisted endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting of the left internal thoracic artery (LITA) to the left anterior descending artery (LAD). Two robotic instruments and one endoscopic camera were placed through three 5-mm ports. A robotic system was used to construct the LITA-LAD anastomosis. All other required grafts were completed by conventional techniques. Results: Seventeen LITA-LAD grafts (89%) had adequate intraoperative flow. The mean LITA-LAD graft flow was 38.5 ± 5 mL/min. At 8 weeks, LITA-LAD grafts were assessed by angiography and showed 100% patency with thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) I flow. At a mean follow-up of 17 ± 4.2 months, all patients were NYHA class I and there were no adverse cardiac events. Conclusions: The results from the first prospective clinical trial of robotically assisted endoscopic coronary bypass surgery in the United States showed favorable short-term outcomes with no adverse events. Robotic assistance is an enabling technology allowing the performance of endoscopic coronary anastomoses.
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