MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Surgeons at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute have performed a fully robotic aortic valve replacement, mitral valve repair, and surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation (Maze) operation, all done through a small opening in a patient’s side. According to international robotics industry leader Minimally Invasive Solutions, this is the first time such a multi-procedural robotic heart repair has ever been performed.
“We are doing some of the first robotic procedures here at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute,” Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, said. “Our teams are global pioneers in the area of robotic operations of the heart, lungs, and esophagus that enable improved outcomes and faster recovery.”
Robotic cardiac surgical procedures allow patients to avoid traditional open-heart procedures through the breastbone and their associated lengthy recovery. The technique of robotic aortic valve replacement, developed by WVU surgeons, provides an alternative for patients who are not candidates for open or transcatheter approaches due to health or complex anatomy. The robotic approach, like the open procedure, allows the surgeon to visualize the anatomy and repair or replace the valve with precision.
“This is a continued pathway of innovation that our outstanding team has established here,” Dr. Badhwar said. “We are comfortable performing so many other robotic procedures, it facilitates adding layers, taking what we think is possible, and making it a reality. It’s that combined team effort that makes our program so successful.”
Despite receiving this world-first complex combination operation, the patient, David White, 76, of Bridgeport, was discharged after three days and is recovering well.
“Right now, my heart rate is way down; it’s not fluttering,” White said. “I just feel so good. It’s extraordinary that this can be done. Dr. Badhwar and his staff are incredible.”
For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit WVUMedicine.org/Heart.