by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | November 25, 2019
In late October, a Michigan cardiologist completed the first multi-city, transcontinental percutaneous coronary interventional simulations in the U.S.
Dr. Ryan Madder, an interventional cardiologist at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, completed 36 cases in the same day between Waltham, Massachusetts and New York City, and between Waltham and San Francisco. He used three network connection types and the CorPath GRX System with prototype remote technology, designed by Siemens Healthineers' company, Corindus.
"Because the Corindus robotic system can be used to perform endovascular procedures in a variety of vascular beds, our observation that the robotic system can be successfully operated from more than 3000 miles away may be relevant for the eventual performance of remote coronary interventions, remote neurovascular interventions in patients suffering a stroke, and remote interventions among patients with peripheral arterial disease," Madder told HCB News.
The procedures were completed over 5G wireless, dedicated fiber and commercial public internet networks. Based in Waltham at the time, Madder performed the procedures with state-of-the-art vascular simulators in New York, which is 200 miles away from Waltham, and San Francisco, which is 3,000 miles away.
The network types provided low-latency connections and successful completion of the procedures, demonstrating the feasibility of long-distance telerobotic intervention. Corindus’ CorPath GRX System with prototype remote technology gave Madder a live view of the activities in the procedure room and enabled him to control coronary devices in real-time with the robot from his remote location.
The milestone builds upon previous work by Corindus, which completed multiple simulated telerobotic studies up to 100 miles away in 2018 and 2019. Its technology was also used to perform the world’s first-in-human telerobotic PCI procedure in India by Dr. Tejas Patel, at a distance of approximately 20 miles away.
The results open up the possibility for interventional cardiologists to eventually use robotic technology to safely and effectively perform coronary procedures from one point to another, anywhere in the country. This, in effect, is expected to shorten time for treating patients in emergency medical situations such as heart attack or stroke; expand access to high-level care for geographically constrained and underserved patient populations; and potentially open up opportunities for integrating telerobotics with AI and edge-computing capabilities over 5G connections.
"We’ve now shown it is technically possible for a physician to use the robotic system to remotely manipulate coronary devices despite being on the opposite side of the country," said Madder. "Considering this was accomplished using existing robotic technology and network infrastructure and was performed in consecutive attempts with an imperceptible signal latency, I believe it is currently possible to perform an intercontinental coronary procedure. This will be the focus of future research."