Surgeons in Galway have carried out the first robot guided coronary intervention in Ireland and the UK.

The technology is used in stent procedures to relieve blockages in the heart’s arteries. The robotic assistance allows for more precision in positioning the stent, letting medical staff move them in millimetre increments.

It also gives medical staff a close-up view of the angiographic images and information during the procedure. At University Hospital Galway, surgeons used this technology – called CorPath – to perform a successful coronary intervention.

Prof Faisal Sharif, the consultant cardiologist who carried out the procedure, said robotic innovation has “come a long way in the last decade”.

“The main advantage of robotics is that it is safe and very precise in stent placement,” Sharif said. “It allows the accurate placement for up to 1mm at a time,”

The technology will also help hospital staff reduce their exposure to radiation. Sharif said the stent placement procedure is usually performed in the cardiac cath lab, which results in radiation exposure. He said staff usually have to wear heavy-lead aprons to reduce risks.

Sharif said there are now plans to perform this robot-assisted procedure regularly, following the successful first surgery.

“I would like to thank Science Foundation Ireland, University of Galway and University Hospital Galway for their support towards this innovation,” Sharif said.

Chris Kane, general manager of Galway University Hospitals welcomed the introduction of the new technology.
“Innovations such as this are transforming medicine and will have a significant impact on the future care for patients,” Kane said. “This state-of-the-art robotics will enhance patient care for our patients across the west and northwest of Ireland.”

Despite the various benefits new technology can bring to healthcare – such as remote robotic surgeries – there are also legal implications that the sector will need to consider.

Last November, William Fry consultant Barry Scannell shared insights on the regulatory landscape when it comes to tech and healthcare.

Leigh Mc Gowran

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