News | August 17, 2011

Lourdes Medical Center Performs First Robot-Assisted, Hybrid Heart Procedure

August 17, 2011 — Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center performed its first “hybrid” heart surgery and what is believed to be the first such procedure in southern New Jersey. Arthur T. Martella, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Lourdes, and Anil G. Kothari, M.D., FACC, FSCA & I of Lourdes Health System affiliate South Jersey Heart Group, performed the procedure.

Hybrid heart surgery utilizes the strengths of a surgical approach to treatment – in this case using the da Vinci robotic surgical system – with that of a catheter-based interventional procedure.

The patient, a 64-year-old woman, suffered from multi-vessel coronary artery disease (CAD). This condition is what ultimately led Martella and Kothari to choose the hybrid surgery option.

“Since the patient’s case was more complex, we chose to do a hybrid procedure. There are some vessels on the heart that the interventional cardiologist is better at treating than the surgeon. Similarly, there are some vessels that the surgeon can treat more effectively than the cardiologist,” said Martella.

The innovative hybrid procedure combines minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery with stenting, and is very much a joint effort between the surgeon and the cardiologist. The cardiologist inserts stents while the surgeon uses robotics for the remainder of the procedure.

This approach offers several advantages compared to open-chest procedures, including:

- Reduced trauma and pain from not breaking the breastbone

- Less blood loss

- Reduced risk of infection

- Smaller incisions with minimal scarring

- Shorter hospital stay

- Faster return to normal activities

After the procedure, the patient is recovering well, according to Martella, who recently joined Lourdes and is a nationally recognized leader in robot-assisted cardiothoracic surgery. He predicts this type of minimally invasive procedure will become more common as interventionalists and surgeons work together to provide less invasive approaches to complex conditions.

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