Robotic tool may enable surgeons to repair living heart

Howe lab hopes to make surgery easier and safer (Technology Review)

Fixing the heart is hard. Certain procedures have to be performed on a stationary organ, so the heart is stopped and the patient put on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. But stopping the heart increases the risk of brain damage. Now researchers at Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston are testing a robotic system that could help surgeons perform a common valve repair while the heart beats on. The system uses 3-D ultrasound images to predict and compensate for the motion of the heart so that the surgeon can work on a patient's mitral valve as it moves.

"Some 50,000 people a year, in the U.S. alone, get mitral-valve surgery," says Robert Howe, a professor of engineering at Harvard and a researcher on the project. "It is a pressing clinical concern."

Read the full article in Technology Review ...

Topics: Robotics, Health / Medicine, Bioengineering

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