The Leipzig Experience with Robotic Valve Surgery


Address for correspondence: Rüdiger Autschbach, M.D., Universitat Leipzig, Herzzentrum, Klinik für Herzchirurgie, Russenstr. 19, 0–04289 Leipzig, Germany, Fax: ++49–341–865–1452.


AbstractObjectives: The study describes the single-center experience using robot-assisted videoscopic mitral valve surgery and the early results with a remote telemanipulator-assisted approach for mitral valve repair. Material and Methods: Out of a series of 230 patients who underwent minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, in 167 patients surgery was performed with the use of robotic assistance. A voice-controlled robotic arm was used for videoscopic guidance in 152 cases. Most recently, a computer-enhanced telemanipulator was used in 15 patients to perform the operation remotely. Results: The mitral valve was repaired in 117 and replaced in all other patients. The voice-controlled robotic arm (AESOP 3000) facilitated videoscopic-assisted mitral valve surgery. The procedure was completed without the need for an additional assistant as “solo surgery.” Additional procedures like radiofrequency ablation and tricuspid valve repair were performed in 21 and 4 patients, respectively. Duration of bypass and clamp time was comparable to conventional procedures (107 Å 34 and 50 Å 16 min, respectively). Hospital mortality was 1.2%. Using the da Vinci telemanipulation system, remote mitral valve repair was successfully performed in 13 of 15 patients. Conclusion: Robotic-assisted less invasive mitral valve surgery has evolved to a reliable technique with reproducible results for primary operations and for reoperations. Robotic assistance has enabled a solo surgery approach. The combination with radiofrequency ablation (Mini Maze) in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation has proven to be beneficial. The use of telemanipulation systems for remote mitral valve surgery is promising, but a number of problems have to be solved before the introduction of a closed chest mitral valve procedure.