October 1, 2008 - Cardiothoracic surgeon Husam H. Balkhy, M.D., chairman of the department of cardiothoracic surgery at The Wisconsin Heart Hospital, performed the first total connector cardiac bypass procedure in the U.S., without needing to arrest the heart, using Cardica's automated systems to connect the bypass graft vessels. Cardica's anastomosis systems automate the connection of blood vessels (known as anastomoses) during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, replacing hand-sewn sutures, which are more time consuming and can be difficult to perform especially in small coronary arteries. Anastomoses are often considered the most critical step of the bypass procedure. Cardica's PAS-Port proximal system attaches the bypass graft to the aorta, upstream of the occlusion, while Cardica's C-Port Distal Anastomosis Systems connect the bypass grafts to coronary arteries downstream of the occlusion. By using Cardica's automated systems, we were able to successfully attach all of the bypass vessels rapidly and consistently, even in areas of the heart that can be difficult to reach, while the patient's heart continued to beat," said Dr. Balkhy. "This was a relatively difficult case, complicated by the patient's multi-vessel disease, small targets and diminished cardiac function. Performing a multiple bypass procedure using traditional techniques, such as stopping the heart and placing the patient on a heart-lung machine, can be associated with significant risks. Using connectors such as these will help facilitate CABG surgery without the need to use a heart-lung machine." Dr. Balkhy and his team at The Wisconsin Heart Hospital performed the triple-bypass procedure on a 69-year-old female patient who had severe coronary artery disease, severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and aortic plaque. This made a traditional CABG surgery particularly risky. The team completed the entire three-vessel, total-connector off-pump CABG surgery in 2.5 hours. The patient was discharged three days after surgery and is reportedly doing well. "Today, general surgeons extensively use miniature stapling devices for anastomoses in bowel, abdominal and even pulmonary surgical procedures, whereas 20 years ago hand-sewn sutures were used for virtually all of these procedures," continued Dr. Balkhy. "Just as staplers have become the standard of care in general surgery, I believe that cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S. and worldwide will eventually adopt automated stapling devices for anastomoses as the standard of care in cardiac bypass surgery." For more information: www.cardica.com
First U.S. Off-Pump Cardiac Bypass Procedure Performed Using Cardica Devices
A pig heart, shown here, is very similar in size and anatomy to a human heart. For this reason, pigs are used extensively in pre-clinical animal testing for new implantable cardiovascular devices. If pig hearts could be used for human transplantation, it would greatly alleviate shortages of donor human hearts.