Gujarat Doctor Makes History, Performs World's 1st Robotic Heart Surgery 30 km Away from Patient

Tele-robotic surgery is performed at a distance from the patient from a remote location using robotically controlled instruments. It is enabled by computer technology and advanced robotics.

Ahmedabad: An important breakthrough in medical science was achieved in Gujarat on Wednesday when cardiac surgeon Dr Tejas Patel conducted the world’s first telerobotic surgery on a patient in Ahmedabad.

Tele-robotic surgery is performed at a distance from the patient from a remote location using robotically controlled instruments. It is enabled by computer technology and advanced robotics.

Dr Patel, who is the chief interventional cardiologist at Ahmedabad-based Apex Heart Institute, guided the robot to perform the surgery on the patient from the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, around 32 kilometres away. The patient was a middle-aged woman with a blocked artery.

The success of the project has the potential to dramatically improve the access of doctors to patients with heart and stroke ailments, especially in rural and under-served areas. Chief minister Vijay Rupani said the government will explore the use of this technology to provide quality and specialised healthcare to rural areas.

Dr Patel has been widely using robotics for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) or heart surgery, but this is the first time in the world that the surgery was conducted from a remote location outside the operation theatre.

"This procedure could have been done with a 20mbps connectivity speed as well. I believe this will not just transform coronary (heart related) intervention, but the entire vascular space. It has the capability of changing the lives of millions of people living in rural areas," the doctor said.

For the robotic surgery, Dr Patel used the Corpath technology of US-based Corindus Vascular Robotics and Mark Toland, the chief executive officer of Corindus could not have been prouder. “It was a matter of pride for the company to be associated with a procedure that could be used to provide quality healthcare on a larger scale,” Toland said.

Dr Patel chose the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple for the remote location because it represents a combination of spirituality and technology. "I took care of the heart of Pramukh Swamy Maharaj and that has made me a better person," Dr Patel stated.