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21st World Congress of the World Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons

Totally Endoscopic Atrial Septal Defect Repair with Robotic Assistance

(#2001-73777 ... March 10, 2002)

Michael Argenziano, MD,1 Mehmet C. Oz, MD,1 Joseph J. DeRose Jr., MD,1 Robert C. Ashton Jr., MD,1 James Beck, CCP,1 Flora Wang, RN,1 W. Randolph Chitwood, MD,2 L. Wiley Nifong, MD,2 Jaina Dimitui, RN,1 Eric A. Rose, MD,1 Craig R. Smith Jr., MD1

1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
2Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC


Background: The development of minimally invasive cardiac surgery has been characterized by the performance of increasingly complex operations through progressively smaller incisions. Computer (robotic) enhancement has emerged as a potential facilitator of these procedures, initially by providing enhanced endoscopic camera control and, more recently, by allowing the manipulation of surgical instruments through limited thoracic incisions. This report describes the next step in this progression, namely the performance of an atrial septal defect (ASD) repair entirely through thoracoscopic port incisions. This represents the first U.S. application of robotic technology for totally endoscopic open-heart surgery.

Materials and Methods: A 33-year-old woman with a secundum atrial septal defect underwent totally endoscopic repair through four port incisions by means of the Da Vinci™ (Intuitive Surgical, Mountain View, CA) robotic surgical system. Cardiopulmonary bypass was achieved peripherally (femoral Estech endoaortic balloon cannula; femoral and right internal jugular venous Bio-medicus cannulae). The myocardium was protected with antegrade cold blood cardioplegia delivered through the distal port of the arterial cannula. After port insertion, the entire operation, including pericardiotomy, bicaval occlusion, atriotomy, atrial septopexy, and atrial closure, was performed by computer-aided control of a camera and two instrument arms manipulated by a surgeon seated 15 feet away. The fourth port was used for suction and suture passage by the patient-side assistant. The aortic cross-clamp time was 43 minutes, and the postoperative transesophageal echocardiogram demonstrated normal ventricular function and the absence of interatrial shunting. The patient was extubated on the night of surgery, was ambulatory within 15 hours, and was discharged on the morning of postoperative day 3, 63 hours after the procedure. At 30-day follow-up, the patient was well and without complaints, and transthoracic echocardiogram confirmed the continued absence of interatrial shunting.

Conclusions: Computer-aided robotic surgical technology can be used to perform open-heart procedures with a totally endoscopic approach. The benefits of this approach may include decreased perioperative pain, decreased recovery times, and improved cosmesis and patient acceptance. Clinical trials currently in progress will demonstrate whether this technology will be of reproducible value in the management of patients with intracardiac disease on a larger scale.

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