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Robots Versus Humans in Mitral Valve Surgery

Posted Friday, July 6, 2018 by Morgan Cartwright

Mitral valve repair is an operation designed to fix the valve on the left side of an individual’s heart. Some mitral valve diseases include mitral valve regurgitation (valves don’t close tightly, causing blood to leak backward) or mitral valve stenosis (the leaflets become thick or stiff, and may fuse together). To repair or replace mitral valves often requires surgery.

Mitral valve surgery can be either open-heart or minimally invasive (known as mini-thoracotomy). The mini-thoracotomy surgery involves small incisions in the chest to operate on the heart. New technology has provided a robot-assisted method, but human minimally invasive surgery is still more common.

A recent study between human and robot-assisted mini-thoracotomies showed that human operations resulted in fewer transfusions (5% vs. 15%), lower atrial fibrillation rates (18% vs. 26%), shorter surgery time (60 min vs. 83 min), and shorter average hospital stay (1 day shorter). However, the overall outcomes were very similar although the robotic arm had fewer discharges to a facility than a home (7% vs. 15%).

The study does note that patients who had robot-assisted surgery were generally lower risk, lower comorbidity burden, but higher degenerative mitral valve disease. While the researchers did attempt to baseline the imbalances, the study was not causative.

For Mitral Valve Surgery, Mini-Thoracotomy May Trump Robotic Approach

Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

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