Research conducted by surgeons from the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Centre shows that using robotics reduces blood vessel trauma during minimally invasive procedures to repair diseased arteries. Research results were presented at the Society for Vascular Surgery's 2010 Vascular Annual Meeting in Boston.

'When we manipulate a catheter through a diseased artery using the standard manual approach, the catheter follows along the walls of the artery. This movement can dislodge plaque into the bloodstream, where it can travel to the brain and cause a stroke or damage other organs like the kidneys,' said Dr Jean Bismuth, vascular surgeon at Methodist and principal investigator for the study. 'We have shown that using robotics significantly reduces this risk because we can navigate precisely down the centre of the vessel, avoiding contact with the walls of the artery.'

The research also showed a reduction in the time it takes to access a vessel, which translates into less radiation exposure for the patient and the surgeon, and the potential to standardise catheter navigation, which may lead to more predictable procedures.

'At Methodist we have been using the Hansen Medical robot to safely and successfully conduct minimally invasive treatments for atrial fibrillation, with Dr Miguel Valderrabano leading this effort. This new research into robotic vascular therapies is early, but it may help open up higher levels of safety for treating our patients with ischaemic vascular and cardiac disease, as well,' said Dr Alan Lumsden, chair of the department of cardiovascular surgery at The Methodist Hospital and co-investigator on the study.