Robotic Heart Surgery

Cleveland Clinic study shows that it’s as safe and effective as traditional approach

January 2011

Robotic mitral valve repair is as safe and effective as traditional surgical approaches, according to a Cleveland Clinic study published in the January issue of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

The first-of-its-kind study compared outcomes, on an intent-to-treat basis, of robotic repair of the posterior mitral valve prolapse versus conventional approaches. The study included 759 Cleveland Clinic patients with mitral valve disease who underwent isolated repair from January 2006 through January 2009.

Investigators looked at the outcomes of patients who received robotic mitral valve repair (through small key-hole incision on the side of the chest) versus patients who underwent traditional approaches of a complete sternotomy (vertical incision dividing the entire breastbone), partial sternotomy and right thoracotomy (incision through the chest wall). Robotic repair of the mitral valve was shown to be as safe and effective – yielding a zero percent operative mortality rate, 100 percent valve repair rate and a shorter hospital stay.

“We believe that there are some safety and efficacy benefits of robotically assisted mitral valve repair,” says Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular surgeon Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, lead author of the study and holder of the Donna and Ken Lewis Endowed Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery. “Patients are showing positive outcomes and they are having a significantly reduced length of stay compared with non-robotic techniques.”

Robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery has a high level of technical complexity, which requires a highly specialized team of surgeons and nurses.

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