Combo Surgery Combats Cardiovascular Disease

Angioplasty, robotically assisted keyhole bypass surgery worked in pilot study

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TUESDAY, Nov. 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A combination of robotically assisted keyhole bypass surgery and stented angioplasty is safe and appears effective in treating patients with extensive cardiovascular disease, says a Belgian study.

This method was used on 12 patients and all of them are free of chest pain. The procedure is for patients who aren't suitable for angioplasty.

"This technique puts together the best of both worlds," said study co-author Dr. Bernard De Bruyne, head of the catheterization laboratory at the Cardiovascular Center in Aalst, Belgium.

"However, it is important to emphasize that this is a small pilot study, and that robotically enhanced minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB) is a recent technique that is used in only a few centers worldwide," De Bruyne said.

With this technique, doctors use a robot to help them harvest one or both internal mammary arteries from a patient's chest. Then, using keyhole surgery, the surgeons attach the mammary arteries to blocked coronary arteries to reroute blood around the obstruction.

"The fact that this keyhole surgery is performed without opening the chest and without arresting the heart offers patients the best postoperative comfort level and esthetic results," study senior author Dr. Frank Van Praet, of the department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, said in a prepared statement.

The study was presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in New Orleans.

More information

The American College of Cardiology has information about preventing heart disease.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 9, 2004

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