Is Keyhole Heart Surgery all it’s cracked up to be and how about a robot?

Fri 13 May_l 2016

Avoidance of breastbone division during cardiac surgery has many compelling advantages such as:

  • Quicker healing, 7 days versus 12 weeks!
  • Less pain
  • Improved cosmetic results
  • Less bleeding
  • Less time in hospital
  • Quicker return to normal activities

We have been performing keyhole heart surgery at The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre for several years now and we are convinced, like others, that in experienced hands, the results are compelling.

We regularly audit our data and we recently looked at the last 100 cases of mitral valve repair for severe mitral leak performed in the Centre: We experienced no operative deaths and 99% of patients had an excellent repair postoperatively.

Interestingly, patients went home nearly 3 full days sooner than the equivalent group of patients undergoing mitral valve repair through the breastbone. This equates to a cost saving of £900 per case.

This is a compelling finding that confirms keyhole mitral valve repair as a very safe clinical advancement which CAN also preserve our valuable NHS resources; and our patients get back to work and play much quicker.

The next stage is to embark upon ambitious plans to create the first “successful” robotic cardiac surgery program in the United Kingdom. This development will allow even greater precision during surgery, and evidence from the United States and Europe suggest that the outcomes can be equally as good as traditional techniques, with even more rapid discharge and recovery.

The robot still requires a surgeon to operate it, for now anyway!

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