The heart is an amazing muscle. It beats an average 100,000 times daily to pump almost 2,000 gallons of blood.
As we age, our coronary arteries become lined with fatty material that can interfere with blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis. This can starve the heart of the oxygen-rich blood we need to survive. When the lack of blood flow to the heart reaches a critical stage, you could suffer a heart attack.
One symptom of a blocked artery is a type of chest pain called angina. You feel this pain when you exercise or otherwise exert yourself.
When you feel chest pain from blocked arteries, you might see an interventional cardiologist for treatment. This specialist might perform a balloon angioplasty to open the blocked artery. He or she may also place a device called a stent in the artery. The stent will help keep the artery open with less chance of it becoming blocked again than if you had a balloon angioplasty alone. This procedure helps to restore normal blood flow to your heart.
Built around a recently developed technology platform known as “The CorPath 200 System,” the new robotic-assisted revascularization procedure allows the cardiologist to sit at a control panel and operate a robotic arm that guides flexible tubes (known as catheters) through arteries that are blocked by sclerotic deposits or other disorders in patients with cardiovascular ailments. Once in place near a blockage, the catheter can then deliver stents or balloons that will help to restore blood flow by expanding the area around the arterial backup.
“The great thing about this new approach to restoring blood-flow in the artery is that it gives the clinician maximum precision in placing the stent or balloon exactly where it will help most,” said Dr. Schreiber. “At the same time, the cardiologist can see the targeted area of the artery more clearly – even as the enhanced accuracy of movement helps to produce less fatigue in the treating physician’s hands, wrists and arms.”
In January, 2013, a team of heart specialists at the DMC Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) successfully conducted the Midwest’s first-ever “robotic-assisted” coronary revascularization to relieve heart artery blockages. The successful implementation of the pioneering new treatment procedure – unique in Michigan and so far performed at only three institutions in the United States – means that DMC heart care patients now have access to the world’s most advanced treatment method for relieving blockages in heart arteries, said CVI President Theodore L. Schreiber, M.D.