For decades, the majority of heart operations required opening the chest, allowing the physician wide access to the entire heart and vessels. With approximately 500,000 heart procedures performed each year, there is greater focus on finding less invasive ways to perform cardiac surgery.

In 1999, Ohio State doctors were the first in the country to perform a robotic heart procedure using the da Vinci® robot. Fourteen years later, we continue to pave the way for the latest robotic surgeries to repair major heart conditions.

Offering a comprehensive program of surgical solutions for heart disorders, Ohio State is a leader in the use of minimally invasive procedures that often provide smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery.

Robotic Heart Procedures and Benefits

Ohio State's cardiothoracic surgery experts have led in the development of robotic procedures that today are the standard of care at Ohio State, nationally and worldwide, including mitral valve repair and heart bypass surgery.

Mitral valve repair
From a technical standpoint, robotic surgeries are particularly well suited for mitral valve repair. The mitral valve’s position in the body allows for easy access by the physician. Three-dimensional imaging affords surgeons the ability to see deep into the heart’s chambers, enhancing the precision of the procedure.

Coronary artery bypass
Robotic surgery is also beneficial for minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery, a procedure that reroutes blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart. The surgeon may only have to make small one-centimeter incisions through the left chest for the robot ports.

Total endoscopic coronary artery bypass
In this procedure, the surgeon makes four small incisions the size of a finger tip, and bypasses the artery on the front of the heart (anterior descending coronary artery) with the artery behind the breast bone (internal theratic artery). This represents a significant advancement over the approximately 50 single- and double-bypass robotic surgeries performed in 2008.

Robotics also eliminates the need for sternotomy for patients who typically would have required a valve replacement. Thanks to the enhanced visualization and greater precision of robotics, surgeons can most often perform a valve repair rather than a replacement, making only tiny incisions. Less physical trauma to the patient results in shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries.

Leaders in robotic surgery

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) clinical trials for the use of robotics in heart valve repair, specifically the mitral valve and coronary bypass surgery, were performed at Ohio State’s Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, with our institution having the most patients enrolled in these trials.

Ohio State’s Heart and Vascular Center cardiothoracic surgery experts have led the development of many procedures widely used today, and are focused on continued innovation and development of new therapies and techniques.

Our experts are also focusing on combining robotics and catheter procedures for innovative “hybrid” surgeries in an operating room designed specifically for these innovative techniques. This new capability represents yet another significant step forward in the use of technology to benefit more patients. 

By establishing these robotic procedures as the standard of care, the Ross Heart Hospital continues to build on its tradition of innovative cardiac surgical techniques, training surgeons who specifically come to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to become experts in the robotic field. By developing and researching the most recent technologies, we are perfecting current treatments and discovering new ones as we create the future of medicine.

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