Robotic heart surgery: Future of cardiac care in India

| Updated: 14 June, 2024 8:51 pm IST
Robotic Heart Surgery is the new future of cardiac care in India. (Image: Abhishek Rajput)

NEW DELHI: The advent of robotic technology in surgical procedures is revolutionising cardiac care in India. First introduced in Chennai five years ago, robotic heart surgery is now making significant strides across the country. Traditional open-heart surgery requires a 14 cm incision, whereas robotic surgery only needs a 4 cm cut, utilizing high magnification for better visuals and reach. The precision of robotic hands, controlled by skilled doctors, allows procedures to be performed through extremely small incisions.

Compared to traditional methods, robotic heart surgery offers numerous advantages, including the use of all arterial grafts, fewer complications, no bone cutting, significantly shorter recovery times, and minimal scarring. A statement at the press conference by Apollo Hospital Delhi said, “The demand for this advanced technology is surging globally, with the market projected to reach $25.4 billion USD by 2030, up from the current $8 billion USD. In India, an estimated 20 robotic cardiac surgeries are performed daily, reflecting the growing acceptance of this minimally invasive approach.”

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Dr. M.M. Yusuf, senior consultant, heart specialist, Robotics and minimally invasive heart surgery at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi told The New Indian, “It is very difficult to find skillful doctors in India, and only two such robotic machines are available here. One is made in India and is affordable but not accepted in the US, and the other is expensive, which makes this procedure costly.”

The scope of robotic heart surgery currently includes procedures like arterial blockages and valve replacements, while more complex operations, such as heart transplants, are not yet feasible. This innovative approach is suitable for patients of all ages, provided their medical history and specific needs align with the surgery’s capabilities.

Despite its benefits, the high cost of robotic surgeries remains a barrier. Dr. Yusuf further added, “Insurance coverage could alleviate this issue if more plans include these procedures and public awareness increases. Currently, robotic heart surgery is available in 10 centers across India, but the number of skilled doctors remains limited.”

Dr. Varun Bansal however advocated its cost-effectiveness, “From an economic standpoint, this is cost-effective as patients are discharged within 2-3 days and recover in 2-3 weeks, saving the costs associated with a 2-3 month recovery period typical of traditional surgery.”

The road to widespread adoption of robotic heart surgery in India will take time, but the technology promises a brighter, more efficient future for cardiac care.

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