Beaumont Hospital, Troy recently added a new robotics system to help protect its cardiologists from radiation exposure while also assisting them in heart catheterization procedures.
According to research, cardiologists working in cardiac catheterization labs receive the highest amount of radiation exposure of any medical profession. This exposure can lead to a higher risk of cataracts, thyroid disease, and brain tumors, especially on the left side, which is closest to the X-ray source used to image patients during the procedures.
Dr. Michael Tucciarone is the first Beaumont cardiologist to use the new system. He says fine motor skills are needed to manipulate catheters, balloons, and other devices using the robot’s joystick controls, but he says he’s getting the hang of it.
“It’s easy to adapt to its use,” he says. “My goal is to get to zero lead use in the future.”
The CorPath Robotics System offers the doctors the chance to perform the procedure from a shielded cockpit located a few feet away from the patient, reducing radiation exposure by more than 95 percent and eliminating the need to wear a lead apron. The robotic system also allows the cardiologist to more precisely measure and select the right-sized devices to remove a heart blockage and prop the artery open with stents, improving outcomes and reducing supply waste.
Dr. Steve Almany, who is the cath lab director at Beaumont, Troy, says it’s about more than just protection from radiation exposure or injury.
“Robotic-assisted technology is the future of cardiology and other medicine and Beaumont will lead the way,” he said. “Medicine is moving more and more in this direction. Telemedicine is growing and robotics provides the ability to do remote cardiac interventions for the 20 percent of the population that is not within one hour of a cath lab.”