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Cleveland Clinic Study Shows Robotic Heart Surgery is as Safe&Effective as Traditional Surgical Approach


Robotic mitral valve repair is as safe and effective as traditional surgical approaches, according to 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 for 759 Cleveland Clinic patients with mitral valve disease who underwent isolated repair from January 2006 through January 2009.

The study 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% valve repair rate and a shorter hospital stay.

“We believe that there are some safety and efficacy benefits of robotically assisted mitral valve repair,” said Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, a Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular surgeon and lead author of the study. “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. Cleveland Clinic surgeons, Drs. Mihaljevic and A. Marc Gillinov, MD, perform the most robotically assisted mitral valve surgeries in the United States.

“It is important to realize that the outcomes reported in this study reflect the large volume of robotic repairs that we perform at Cleveland Clinic,” Dr. Gillinov said. “As robotic surgery becomes more widely adopted, it is important that a highly experienced surgical team is performing these complex repair techniques.”

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