‘A landmark event’: First human patients receive remote PCI

An interventional cardiologist performed percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) on five patients located 20 miles away this week—the first truly remote PCIs in human patients.

Researchers have been working toward this milestone for some time, first demonstrating the feasibility of Corindus Vascular Robotics’ technology by operating from an adjacent room in a cath lab. They’ve also performed remote PCIs in pigs, navigating the robotic equipment from 100 miles away in one instance.

“The first in-human cases of remote robotic PCI represent a landmark event for interventional medicine,” Tejas Patel, MD, chairman and chief interventional cardiologist at Apex Heart Institute in Ahmedabad, India, said in a press release.

Patel performed the procedures Dec. 4 and 5 from a temple located in Gandhinagar while another physician, Sanjay Shah, MBBS, was in the room with the patients at Apex Heart Institute.  

According to Corindus, the success of the initial in-human cases should pave the way for more “tele-stenting” procedures to be performed around the globe.

Experts have said remote PCI could help address patient access concerns and physician shortages by allowing them to perform interventions without physically traveling to a location. It also could eliminate operator radiation exposure from up-close procedures as well as orthopedic injuries from hunching over patients at bedside.

Corindus plans to expand its robotic platform to other indications, including stroke care, and said the current PCI technology could reduce the time to treatment for emergent procedures in the setting of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

The Mayo Clinic has received a $3.3 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to explore the use of Corindus’ second-generation CorPath GRX system for cardiac interventions. A trustee of that charitable group, Walter Panzirer, said the first in-human, remote experience with the system “gets us one step closer to realizing our vision that rural populations can get time-sensitive cardiac interventions sooner, ultimately saving lives.”