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Aug 24th, 2012
Future of Healthcare: Could robots replace surgeons?
The CorPath 200 system is the world’s first robotic-assisted system for minimally invasive treatment of coronary artery disease, and was recently cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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Philips Healthcare has become the exclusive distributor of Corindus’ robotic-assisted CorPath 200 system, as it announced its agreement with Corindus to distribute the interventional cardiology system in the US.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and is characterized by the buildup of plaque and narrowing of the coronary arteries. Over time, CAD weakens the heart muscle and leads to arrhythmias and heart failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400,000 people died from coronary artery disease in 2008 in the US. Minimally invasive techniques, known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), are used to treat this debilitating condition and are comprised of procedures such as coronary stenting and balloon angioplasty. PCI is usually performed in the catheterization lab using X-ray imaging.

PCI is one of the fastest growing markets in the US and is estimated to reach $4.2 billion by 2018. It has transformed the treatment paradigm for coronary artery disease and reduced patient recovery times, treatment costs, and post-surgery complications. Although there are several advantages of using PCI over traditional invasive treatments, there are several challenges with current PCI procedures that need to be addressed. These include exposure to radiation, precise stent deployment, stability of the guidewire and catheter, and accurate visualization and measurement of lesion length.

The CorPath 200 system is designed for robotic-assisted placement of coronary guidewires and stent/balloon catheters used in PCI procedures. It consists of a robotic drive and single-use cassette mounted on an articulating arm that is attached to the patient table. The CorPath 200 system is integrated with an X-ray fluoroscopy system to accurately visualize catheter progression during surgery. The system is operated by an interventional cardiologist from a radiation shielded “interventional cockpit”. The physician is seated in front of monitors that provide a view of the angiographic screen and is able to perform the surgery remotely using simple touch-screen and joystick controls.

GlobalData believes robotic-assisted technology is the next generation of image-guided minimally invasive techniques in healthcare. The system is compact, cost-efficient and addresses the challenges associated with PCI. With the robotic-assisted system, the interventional cardiologist is protected from radiation and can perform long surgeries from the comfort of the “cockpit”, reducing fatigue and back pain. The system allows for discrete control and navigation of the guidewire and catheter through the patient, enhanced visualization, accurate measurement of lesion length, and is compatible with commercial stents and devices. This technology has the potential to improve treatment efficacy and enhance patient care. Results from the CorPath PRECISE clinical trial showed that there was a 100% clinical success rate, no occurrence of major adverse cardiac events, and 97.1% reduction in radiation exposure to the clinician.

The partnership between Philips and Corindus will change the landscape for treatment of coronary artery disease. Philips, a global leader in interventional cardiology, is at the forefront of imaging systems and interventional tools, helping clinicians provide better treatment. Corindus is the global technology leader in robotic-assisted PCI and is leading the way in the vascular market. This dynamic duo is addressing the unmet needs of PCI by developing novel solutions, and will play an important role in transforming the cardiac revascularization market. Existing robotic systems, such as the da Vinci Si surgical system developed by Surgical Intuitive, are primarily used for urology and invasive cardiac procedures, such as coronary artery bypass grafting and mitral valve repair. Surgical robots are commonly used in urology for treating conditions such as bladder cancer, kidney disorders and prostate cancer. More than 400 da Vinci robots are used worldwide for performing robot-assisted prostatectomy. Cardiac invasive procedures are associated with longer patient recovery time and intense medication regimen, and can be avoided by using PCI.

The large PCI market presents the CorPath 200 system with an opportunity to create a niche for itself, and there could be additional opportunities if the CorPath 200 is expanding into other applications. With the adoption of the robotic-assisted system, treatment costs can be reduced in addition to improving clinical outcomes. In the future, this technology can lead to worldwide growth of robotic procedures in cardiology as currently seen in urology.

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