By Kim Burch, Executive Director, Cardiovascular Services
At John Muir Health, we continually seek ways to provide innovative and high-quality services to our cardiovascular patients. Earlier this year, retired Fire Captain Dennis Morgan became the first patient in Northern California to undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty, using the Corindus CorPath Robotic System. Dennis was experiencing chest pain while playing golf and an abnormal stress test indicated coronary artery disease.
Recently, interventional cardiologist Dr. Richard Chang performed Dennis’ robotic-assisted PCI procedure. Use of the robot allows a PCI procedure to be performed with greater precision and less radiation exposure than traditional PCI. PCI opens blocked arteries in the heart by inserting and inflating a balloon and then placing a stent to restore blood flow. The measurements that guide the placement of the balloon and stent are more precise using the robot which may result in more accurate balloon and stent placement, and potentially fewer stents needed to clear a blockage. Use of the robot also means less radiation exposure for the patient and physician. Live x-rays (angiograms) are used during PCI so the interventional cardiologist can track the position of instruments in relation to the blockage in the heart. The robot guides the procedure so precisely that repeated x-ray images are not needed as often.
Clinical trials have demonstrated that this robotic procedure resulted in a 17 percent reduction in radiation dose to the patient, an 8.3 percent reduction in stent usage due to precision in measurement, and a 95 percent reduction in radiation exposure to the interventional cardiologist. That kind of advancement in treatment matters to patients and to us. As for Dennis, we are happy to report that he no longer has chest pain and can play as much golf as he likes.
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