Lutheran First Hospital in State to Use Robotics for Electrophysiology Heart Treatment
Better Access Equals Better Outcomes for Heart Patients
Fort Wayne, Ind. (Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010) — Demonstrating its leadership in cardiac care, Lutheran Hospital announced today that it is the first hospital in Indiana to use advanced robotics in electrophysiology to perform complex heart procedures.
The system, known as the Sensei X Robotic Catheter System and developed by Hansen Medical, has a robotic arm with millions of fine, intertwined cables that maneuver catheters in the heart. The arm enables the electrophysiologist access to hard-to-reach locations deep within the heart. The robotic arm curves and holds a catheter better than similar devices, reducing procedure time and physician fatigue and increasing patient safety. The advanced technology will be used primarily for atrial fibrillation and complex arrhythmia ablations.
"We are thrilled to have the refined abilities of a robot for the many intricate procedures we perform in the heart," said Christopher Zee-Cheng, MD, medical director of the electrophysiology program at Lutheran Hospital. "Having this technology provides stability and reach that's unparalleled, and that's a major advantage for physicians. Also, the robotic arm reduces 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, we're reminded to stay in tune with heart health," said Joe Dorko, chief executive officer, Lutheran Hospital. "Lutheran Hospital continues to expand its heart care services through innovations like the robotic arm. Outfitting Lutheran's electrophysiology lab with cutting-edge technology reaffirms our ongoing commitment to comprehensive cardiac care and allows us to provide exceptional, seamless care to our cardiac patients. After all, Lutheran is among an elite group of facilities that provides this type of complex procedure."
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. Pacemakers and defibrillators are typically placed in cardiac patients in the EP lab.
A study published last week in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" compared using catheter ablation to burn away abnormal tissue versus taking medications to treat 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.