Robot Helps Teach Physicians New Cath Lab Procedures


June 1, 2010
An RP-7 robot (right), manipulated remotely by a doctor across the country, helped teach physicians how to perform procedures on total chronic occlusions.

June 1, 2010 – A teleproctoring technology uses robotic technology to teach physicians about new procedures without the additional expense of travel.

Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta conducted the first test of the system for teaching interventional cardiology. Piedmont was chosen to test the new telehealth product from InTouch Health for Medtronic, because of the facility’s growing expertise in the area of retrograde and antegrade angioplasty.

On April 29, Piedmont interventional cardiologists Dimitri Karmpaliotis, M.D., and Harold Carlson, M.D., tested the technology as they performed one retrograde and two antegrade angioplasty procedures. They treated complex cases of chronic total occlusion (CTO), while world-renowned CTO expert William Lombardi, M.D., monitored the operations from Bellingham, Wash. With the use of joysticks, Lombardi was able to control a robot stationed in the lab in Atlanta to watch and assess the ongoing events. The participants said this was the first time this kind of technology was applied to coronary angioplasty.

This new teleproctoring technology will allow the remote collaboration of skilled physicians and possibly help to improve the success rate of interventional treatments.

InTouch makes the RP-7 remote presence robot, which allows two-way video for patient evaluation and visits by doctors who are in another location. The remote physician can move the robot with the use of joysticks. A high-resolution camera can be zoomed to examine a patient, and a camera on the physician's computer shows the physician on a screen on the robotic unit.

The new use for the system may enable closer collaboration during interventions and better training for physicians who are separated by great distances.