Operator performs robot-assisted PCI from 100 miles away

“Tele-stenting” appears more possible now than ever, as Vascular Robotics announced an interventional cardiologist used its CorPath GRX System to perform a remote percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in a pig 100 miles away.

Ryan Madder, MD, navigated the robotic equipment from Ludington, Michigan, while using a telecommunications system to connect with bedside staff in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Madder previously led the REMOTE-PCI study, which showed a procedural success rate of 95 percent for robotic stent interventions performed from an adjacent cath lab. He presented that work at TCT 2017, suggesting at the time that this technology could eventually extend to PCIs performed across long distances.

The successful PCI in a porcine model is a major step in that direction, Madder said.

"The REMOTE-PCI study previously demonstrated that remote PCI is feasible," Madder said in a press release. "Our recent case completed over a distance of greater than 100 miles now demonstrates that remote robotic PCI can be successfully performed in vivo by a physician who is located at great distances away from the PCI recipient. This achievement is a significant milestone toward breaking down the geographic barriers that prevent many patients in remote regions of the world from undergoing coronary stenting."

Remote PCI could help address a physician shortage by allowing them to perform interventions without physically traveling to a location. It also could eliminate operator radiation exposure from up-close interventions as well as orthopedic injuries from hunching over patients at bedside, experts have said.

"Dr. Madder’s 100-mile case simply exceeds our expectations,” said Mark Toland, president and CEO of Corindus. “His achievement allows our customers and partners to envision the possibilities of remote treatment and validates our broader vision of striving to apply remote technology to treat other vascular diseases such as acute ischemic stroke."