Science Market Update

Biorobotics and Its Role in Minimal-Invasion Cardiac Surgery

Posted by BCI Staff on Mon, Sep 26, 2011

Recently, Harvard scientists took on the challenge of expanding the catheter's capabilities to address specific requirements of open heart surgery while simultaneously offering a significantly less invasive approach to complex cardiac procedures.

bioroboticsThe research team was led by Robert D. Howe, Abbot and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences along with Dr. Pedro del Nido, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Children's Hospital Boston.

(image courtesy of Harvard University)

Traditionally, open-heart surgery is expensive and dangerous, typically requiring patients to be placed on the surgical heart-lung equipment, and often is plagued by side effects ranging from loss of cognition to loss of life.

However, with the team's research, a different option is now available. Equipped with the ability to quickly and flexibly interact with rapidly moving structures inside a beating heart, this "cathbot" is a robotic actuated catheter system that can compensate for the rapid heart movement while performing surgery on the delicate structures of the cardiac organ.

The cathbot is made up of a cardiac-interior catheter module, a 3D ultrasound imaging system that visualizes the catheter and tissue of interest, and a system that directs the robot to follow a specific path based on the ultrasound imaging.

biorobotic minimal-invasion

bioroboticsImage courtesy of Harvard SEAS

This technology enables less-invasive surgical procedures to be performed, minimizing the risk of fatalities and eliminates a large percentage of the mistakes due to human error. Large incisions do not have to be made, and the patient doesn't have to rely on heart-lung bypass machines or sedatives.

The Harvard team is now exploring the possibilities involved with using the technology for heart valve repair, cardiac tissue resection, biopsies, and electrophysiology procedures. Their end goal is to commercialize the research to make less-invasive procedures in hospitals available to patients.

Source: Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


This year's Harvard BioResearch Product Faire™ event has already occurred. The 2012 event at Harvard Medical Center will be on March 22, 2012. This is an excellent opportunity to connect with top researchers and explore the newest laboratory equipment.

If you are a laboratory manager, supplier, or researcher in the biotechnological field or any other medical research area, and cover the Northeast plan on attending Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.'s next BioResearch Product Faire™ event coming to the Northeast at Columbia University in New York on October 18th, 2011.

Click below for more info on our tradeshow at Columbia University Medical Center.

Columbia vendor show

Tags: Harvard University, Northeast, 2012, Massachusetts, biorobotics, Boston, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MA, Harvard, 2011

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