Coronary angioplasty involved placing of balloons and stents inside a blocked artery. All these are done manually by a highly skilled interventional cardiologist. With the recent breakthrough in robotic technology and AI learning, physician can now perform robotic assisted coronary intervention in a few highly selected cardiac centres.
During a robotic-assisted intervention, the specially trained cardiologist sit in a radiation-shielded workstation and use a set of joysticks and touchscreen controls that translate the physician’s movements into device control. Robotic-assisted intervention enables precise measurement of anatomy and device positioning down to the millimetre level. There is also the added benefit of radiation protection for the physician and the potential to reduce radiation exposure for staff and patients.
Is robotic angioplasty better than conventionally carried out angioplasty?
- We need to specify what is the definition of “better”. Manual manipulation of coronary devices during angioplasty is still the default procedure in centres without robotic set up. But with more centres installing robotic assisted system and with physicians trained to become expert operators, this technology will be used more frequently. Maybe one can draw an analogy with driving. We used to drive manual stick shift cars but most of us drive automatic these days and some of us are already exploring self-driving vehicles.