Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pericardial Robotics

Robotics may facilitate pericardial procedures on the outside of the heart:
Since medieval times the leech has been used to cure everything from fever to possession by evil spirits.

Now doctors have brought it into the 21st century with a robotic version that can repair damaged hearts.
The tiny device slides across the surface of the still-beating heart, (and stabilizes itself on the surface of the heart using suction while potentially) delivering treatment without the need for open heart surgery.

Once inside the body, the Heart-Lander can inject drugs, attach pacemaker leads and may even be able to destroy damaged tissue.
This might be tough on patients with a prior history of heart surgery due to the presence of adhesions, but the concept is intriguing.


Reference: Percutaneous Subxiphoid Access to the Epicardium Using a Miniature Crawling Robotic Device T. Ota, N. Patronik, C. Riviere, and M.A. Zenati Innovations, Vol. 1, No. 5, October, 2006, pp. 227-231.

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