Press release from Lutheran Hospital:
Lutheran First Hospital in State to Use Robotics in Specialized Electrophysiology Heart Treatment
Robotic Technology Enables Physicians Better Access Equaling Stronger Outcomes for Heart Patients
(Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010) Demonstrating its leadership in cardiac care, Lutheran Hospital announced today that it is the first hospital in Indiana using advanced robotics in electrophysiology for performing complex heart procedures.
The equipment, known as the Sensei X Robotic Catheter System developed by Hansen Medical, has a robotic arm with millions of fine, intertwined cables that maneuvers catheters in the heart. The arm enables the electrophysiologist to access difficult locations deeper within the heart. The robotic arm curves and holds a catheter better than similar devices, reducing procedure time, physician fatigue and increasing patient safety.
The advanced technology will be used primarily for atrial fibrillation ablations and complex arrhythmia ablations that are usually located in hard to reach areas.
“We are thrilled to have the refined abilities of a robot for the many intricate procedures we perform in the heart,” said Dr. Zee Chang, medical director of the electrophysiology program at Lutheran Hospital. “Having this technology provides stability and reach that’s unparalleled so that’s a major advantage. Also, the robotic arm reduces the radiation exposure which is beneficial to everyone.”
Atrial fibrillation is a common heart condition in which the atria beats irregularly and much too fast because it receives extra, “abnormal” electrical signals. This condition affects the heart’s ability to sufficiently pump blood to the body. During a catheter ablation, small portions of the heart that cause the A-Fib or arrhythmia are burned away.
“As Heart Month begins and we’re reminded to stay in tune with heart health on a personal level professional level, Lutheran Hospital is always striving to improve heart care and the robotic arm enables us to do just that,” said Joe Dorko, chief executive officer, Lutheran Hospital. “Outfitting Lutheran’s electrophysiology lab with innovative, cutting-edge technology allows us to provide exceptional, seamless care to our cardiac patients who rightfully expect these high standards.
After all, Lutheran Hospital is among an elite group of facilities including the Mayo Clinic that are providing this type of complex procedure.” Just another chapter in the book on innovation at Lutheran Heart Center
The robotic arm is located in Lutheran Hospital’s electrophysiology laboratory. An EP lab, or arrhythmia services area, is the department that specializes in the heart’s electrical system where Lutheran’s latest heart technology pacemakers and defibrillators are typically placed in cardiac patients.
A study that was published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared catheter ablation to burn away abnormal tissue versus medication treatment in atrial fibrillation. Researchers reported a dramatic difference in success rates. After one year, two thirds of the patients who received catheter ablation no longer experienced recurrent irregular heartbeats or symptoms. Only 16 percent of those treated with medication reported the same findings.
The same study estimated that more than 2 million Americans have atrial fibrillation and about 160,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.