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First ever robot heart surgery in UK


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I think technology is really catching up now to what we always imagined.. Now we just need transporters (which they are working on :))




Surgeons have carried out the first ever robotic open-heart operations in Britain at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.


The Da Vinci robot is remotely controlled by surgeons who are given a view of the heart from cameras attached to its four arms.


Natalie Jones, of Stourbridge, 22, was the first patient to have the procedure to have a hole in her heart repaired.


Doctors claim the operation is safer for patients than keyhole surgery.


Normal heart surgery involves cutting open the breast plate, but the robotic arms are inserted by making cuts between the patient's ribs.


A surgeon is given a 3D, high-definition view of the heart and can move the arms using a control panel.


Each time they move their hand 3mm, the robot arm moves just 1mm.


Heart surgeon Stephen Billing said: "There is less pain and patients are able to return home to their normal activities far sooner."


Mrs Jones had a 3.5cm (1.3in) hole in her heart repaired during surgery which lasted nine hours.





She said she wanted the procedure so she could get back to looking after her 21-month-old son, Dillon, as quickly as possible.


She said: "I was scared, but I chose the robot surgery because I didn't want to have a large scar and I liked the idea of being the first."


A more complex procedure - a mitral valve repair - was carried out on 43-year-old Paul Whitehouse from Halesowen.


Doctors said that Mr Whitehouse would be able to go back to work as a self-employed builder after two months instead of the normal six months recovery time.


New Cross Hospital hopes to carry out 30 mitral valve repairs a year using the robot that is already employed in other operations at the hospital.


The UK is the third country in Europe after Sweden and Finland to perform open-heart surgery using robots.


Surgeons Moninder Bhabra and Mr Billing and their team underwent extensive training in Finland before the first procedure.


But Mr Bhabra accepts that the robot can only be used sparingly, because it is expensive.


Each of its four arms has tools costing £2,000 that have to be replaced after 10 operations.


"I accept money is tight within the NHS, but we can't be left behind by the rest of the world in developing what we are doing in surgery and other aspects of health care," said Mr Bhabra.

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Been going on for years here in the States, my cardiologist has already performed over 200 of the procedures . To me it's just another example of how state run systems stifle innovation and progress, but that's a whole different can of worms to open .


I'm from the UK. We often complain about the National Health Service but fail to appreciate how very much more expensive the latest drug or surgical interventions can be for what are only modest improvements.


Personally, I think I'd rather not have always the highest tech at the expense of what is still a very high standard of care that is accessible to all.

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Well , in April I had three stents put in my heart. I was in and out of the hospital in three days, the bill was right at $58,000.00 of which I paid $300.00. During my stay I had a private room and really wanted for nothing. Innovation costs money to implement in the medical field. I find it interesting that doctors in the UK are only allowed to perform a certain number of procedures in a given time frame, correct me if I'm wrong. I also prefer the system here in the US, due to the fact that there are numerous charitable hospitals that provide care. Government oversight and control, at least here in the US, usually breeds ineptitude, a myriad of regulations and overall diminishing return of services.

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