Robot heart surgery to be done by remote control

The robotic arm - disappointingly looking nothing like a cool Terminator arm
The robotic arm - disappointingly looking nothing like a cool Terminator arm

A doctor will perform heart surgery remotely using a robot arm, in a pioneering operation conducted at Glenfield Hospital Leicester.

Dr Andre Ng, Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester and Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester, and quite possibly a man who needs a very large business card, is the first person to carry out an operation remotely on patients using this system.

The Catheter Robotics Remote Catheter Manipulations System will be used for the first time in a heart rhythm treatment procedure, with a robotic arm being manipulated by Dr Ng during the operation.

The surgery needs regular X-rays to be taken, which traditionally means a cumbersome lead apron for the doctor - something that can be avoided with this new technology.

Important step

Dr Ng said: "The new Robotic procedure is an important step forward because, while some procedures are straightforward, others can take several hours.

"Because X-rays are used to allow the doctor to monitor what is going on inside the patient, it means that doctors standing close to the patient wear radiation shields such as lead aprons which are burdensome.

"Protracted procedures can lead to clinician fatigue and high cumulative radiation exposure."


"The benefit of the Robotics system to the patient is that movement of the catheter could be done with great precision," he added.

"It is anticipated that further developments of the system may allow complex procedures to be made more streamlined."

Can't be that hard – not like it's brain surgery…

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.