Corindus partners with Mayo Clinic to test feasibility of remote PCI

Corindus Vascular Robotics announced Jan. 2 it is partnering with Mayo Clinic for a preclinical study to evaluate whether operators could perform robot-assisted PCIs from remote locations.

In its release, Corindus said the multiyear, multiphase collaboration could help rural and underserved populations eventually gain access to PCI via “telestenting.” The company’s CorPath GRX System is currently cleared for robotic-assisted PCI in cardiac catheterization labs, but the new work will test whether it can be safely and effectively employed using offsite controls.

"We are delighted to work on critical research for remote robotics with Mayo Clinic,” Corindus CEO and president Mark Toland said in the release. “While PCI is the initial focus for this development program, our long-term goal is to extend this capability to the remote treatment of endovascular disease and stroke. Corindus is committed to developing a high tech cardiovascular model that improves efficiency, integrates the latest technology, and ultimately improves patient care. Telestenting is at the core of this strategy."

A previous study of Corindus’ technology showed operators could perform PCI while in an adjacent room of the cath lab. But for the operation to be truly remote, the robotic system’s hardwire connection to the interventional cockpit controlling the device would have to be replaced with a web-based network. In addition, regulatory hurdles—such as whether an operator would need to be licensed in the state he is in or the state a patient is—would need to be addressed, Ehtisham Mahmud, MD, told Cardiovascular Business in November.

Mahmud, one of the principal investigators of the technology, said at the time he envisions the system as a conduit for experienced operators to help less-experienced colleagues in other locations. But manual access to the patient would still be required in case there were complications, he said.

“You could essentially take a large health system … say a health system with seven, eight, 10 hospitals geographically disparate from one another … and you would not have to have the same level of high expertise at all of them,” said Mahmud, who has received research funding from Corindus. “You could potentially have less experienced operators tableside and maybe one or two highly experienced robotic operators that are sitting centrally and that can assist multiple physicians and multiple cath labs within their single network without having to physically go to different locations.”

Another potential benefit of the technology is its ability to reduce the occupational hazards of radiation exposure from performing PCIs at bedside.