Robot assists with closed-chest CABG procedures
Surgeons using a da Vinci robotic surgical system and the Cardica C-Port Flex A anastomosis system have  performed eight closed-chest coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures on a beating heart. 

All patients were discharged an average of two days following surgery and were able to return to normal daily activities within two weeks, according to the Redwood City, Calif.-based Cardica.

Husam H. Balkhy, MD, chairman of the department of cardiothoracic surgery at The Wisconsin Heart Hospital in Milwaukee, guided the da Vinci Surgical System to perform movements through fingertip-size incisions in the chest area, using a high definition camera and scope to facilitate visualization inside the chest. The off-pump bypass surgery is performed robotically without cutting the sternum and without the use of a traditional heart-lung machine.  

Cardica said its C-Port Flex A system automates the attachment of the bypass graft to the coronary artery, eliminating the need to sew the graft using traditional suture and thread. 

“With the availability of the C-Port Flex A system and the recent introduction in the United States of Intuitive Surgical's EndoWrist Stabilizer, we are seeing a convergence of technology that I expect will change the future of coronary bypass procedures and provide significant benefit to patients,” Balkhy said.