Robot Assisted Triple Bypass Surgery

The majority of patients who require bypass surgery have more than two blocked arteries going to the heart and require the most advanced surgical technology to address their blockages. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Heart Center can bypass three vessels and allow more patients to benefit from a minimally invasive, robot-assisted heart surgery, known as robot-assisted totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass (TECAB).

Robot-assisted TECAB, which does not require any large incisions, presents an alternative to open heart surgery for patients with three blocked coronary arteries. 

What is Triple Bypass and How is it Performed?

Multiple bypasses are possible with open heart surgery, in which the chest is opened to provide full access to the heart, so they need. But the downside of open heart surgery is long recovery, increased risk of infection and other issues. Most patients prefer minimally invasive surgery, if given the option. The least invasive of current options is known as robot-assisted totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass (TECAB).

Until now, technical issues had limited robot-assisted bypass surgery to a maximum of two bypass grafts. But the team has been working to overcome those barriers with improved techniques and new instruments that lift the heart up from the chest to provide access to blocked vessels on the back of the heart. So now surgeons can bypass three vessels, meaning that more patients can benefit from this minimally invasive, robot-assisted heart surgery.

There is a new type of heart-lung machine which is specially designed for use with robotic heart surgery, which is connected to the patient through an artery in the groin. A traditional heart-lung machine requires an opening in the chest. 

When the patient is on the heart-lung machine and the heartbeat is stopped, surgeons can sew extremely tight and accurate sutures with the robotic system.  Research indicates that this technique adds to the longevity of the bypass, in contrast to other approaches in which the heart is kept beating.

This page was last updated: February 4, 2014

Average rating (32)