The ground-breaking procedure was performed by Gerhard Wimmer-Greinecker, M.D., Ph.D., principle investigator from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany as part of a clinical study. Through small ports in the chest, Dr. Wimmer-Greinecker introduced the Endo MVP System using an innovative tool produced by Intuitive Surgical. The Endo MVP System was deployed into the internal thoracic artery and a coronary artery to create an anastomotic connection to bypass the blocked artery. The MVP technology is a revolutionary and proprietary coupling method, which uses magnetic attraction to form a self-sealing connection between two blood vessels.
"I am thrilled to see the evolution of these two technologies converge into an exciting endoscopic solution for patients suffering from coronary artery disease", stated Dr. Wimmer-Greinecker. "This first procedure has demonstrated early feasibility, safety and the potential to greatly enhance totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass surgery." He also commented that this first patient is on an accelerated path to full recovery. On January 25, Dr. Wimmer-Greinecker presented the findings of this robotic procedure to surgeons attending the STS/AATS Tech-Con 2004 conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Over the past several years, Ventrica and Intuitive have been working together in a unique collaboration to make truly endoscopic coronary bypass surgery a reality. "As a whole, anastomotic devices continue to hold great promise in advancing the field of coronary bypass surgery", commented Ventrica President and CEO, Mark Foley. "The development of technologies such as the Endo MVP System represents a major breakthrough in providing surgeons with the ability to perform beating heart surgery through small ports or incisions in the chest, thus reducing patient pain, trauma and recovery time."
Chris Rabbitt, Director of Marketing, Cardiac Surgery, stated: "The advancement of totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass surgery continues to rely on complimentary technology. We are encouraged by this initial study experience as it represents an opportunity for further collaboration on the use of enabling anastomotic device technology with the da Vinci Surgical System in minimally invasive cardiac surgery."
Volkmar Falk, M.D., Ph.D., principle investigator from the University Heart Center in Leipzig, Germany, was integral to the success and development of the Endo MVP technology. "The potential contribution of devices such as the Endo MVP to further minimally invasive and endoscopic procedures is also significant", stated Dr. Falk. "Facilitating bypass procedures through small incisions will possibly add to the value of this device across a wide population of patients with coronary artery disease."
Coronary artery disease is a major health care problem worldwide and is the leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 700.000 bypass procedures are performed each year. Current methods of performing bypass procedures can be time consuming and technically demanding. The Ventrica MVP System may reduce many of the challenges that are currently limiting minimally invasive bypass surgery such as space constraints, lengthy procedure times, and ease of use. These same advantages may apply to traditional bypass procedures as well.
Ventrica Inc. was founded in 1998 to develop technologies, which would advance the treatment of heart disease. The aim of the company was to combine the minimally invasive aspect of interventional cardiology with the long-term success of coronary bypass surgery. The pursuit of this goal has yielded what the company believes to be breakthrough technology for automating the anastomotic connection of blood vessels. The company's MVP technology is pending 510(k) clearance.
Intuitive Surgical Inc. is specialised in operative surgical robotics. The da Vinci Surgical System consists of a surgeon's console, a patient-side cart, a high performance vision system and proprietary EndoWrist instruments. By integrating computer-enhanced robotic technology with the technical skills of the surgeon, the system enables surgeons to perform better surgery in a manner never before experienced. The da Vinci Surgical System seamlessly translates the surgeon's natural hand and wrist movements on instrument controls at a console into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small puncture incisions, or ports.
More news on Ventrica can be found in the VMW March 2002 article European heart surgeons present positive clinical trial results using Ventrica's Magnetic Vascular Positioner. About the da Vinci robot, you can read more in the VMW December 2002 article Both FDA-cleared da Vinci robot and "port-access" approach to score in heart surgery.