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Robotics in the Cath Lab
Robotics in the Cath Lab
March 30, 2014 -- Angioplasty and stent placement is the gold standard for the emergency treatment of heart attacks. But getting the patient to a catheterization lab where the angioplasty can be performed in a timely fashion has been a challenge. Hospitals have done a stellar job in reducing door-to-balloon time so that once an infarcting patient presents at the hospital, that patient can be on the cath lab table being revascularized in less than 90 minutes: in this case, the heart attack is stopped in its tracks.

But getting the patient to the hospital door is another story. In rural areas several types of protocols have been put in place: helicopter transport to major medical centers; community hospitals licensed to performed angioplasty without surgical backup; 12-lead EKG readings and interpretations in the ambulance, so that trained EMS personnel can activate a cath lab directly, shortening the time it takes to get the patient on the cath lab table.

One problem for smaller rural hospitals has been the ability to maintain a 24/7 cath lab staff and an interventional cardiologist capable of performing these procedures.

Now, Corindus Vascular Robotics is testing a new solution, whereby an interventional cardiologist may be able to perform an angioplasty and precisely place a stent -- from another city!

The press release from Corindus Vascular Robotics follows:

Corindus Vascular Robotics, Sanford Health and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Launch Remote Robotics Program
Program envisions enabling remote robotic-assisted PCI for patients in rural areas

March 11, 2014 -- Waltham, Massachusetts -- Corindus Vascular Robotics, a leading developer of precision vascular robotics and provider of the CorPath Vascular Robotic System, today announced a partnership with Sanford Health and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to launch a technical feasibility investigation for a remote robotics program. For many patients living in rural areas, a procedure as critical and life-saving as an angioplasty may only be available at a facility more than two hundred miles away.

Following the technical feasibility investigation, the remote robotics program is intended to potentially empower an interventional cardiologist at a major center to robotically control the movement of interventional devices at a remote facility. This could offer patients located in rural areas the high-quality heart care and treatment currently available only at heart centers in major metropolitan areas. The first phase of the program aims to understand the technology required to make remote robotics successful. The development of the program will proceed based on those findings.

"We are excited to support the first phase of this effort to develop a highly innovative technology with great potential for improving access to care in rural areas," said Walter Panzirer of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. "Our vision is to provide access to care to populations that generally lack the necessary infrastructure. Enabling a critical service, such as angioplasty, utilizing remote robotics can dramatically improve outcomes for a larger population."

Sanford Health, the largest rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation, recently became a CorPath Center of Excellence, having installed their second CorPath System in the Sanford Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD and their third CorPath in the Sanford Health system at the Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center in Aberdeen, SD. With funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Corindus and Sanford Health will pursue the possibilities offered by pioneering new, remote capabilities for robotic-assisted Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), also known as angioplasty.

"In the past year, we have installed the third CorPath system in our organization and built a strong partnership with Corindus as a CorPath Center of Excellence," said Tom Stys, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Services at Sanford Heart Hospital. "Robotic assistance is a tool for physicians to provide optimal care to our patients. The vision of remote opportunities for angioplasty and stent placement is a stepping stone to help us extend that care to the most rural parts of our state and beyond."

CorPath is the first and only FDA-cleared technology that enables precise, robotic-assisted angioplasties to open arteries and restore blood flow in patients with coronary artery disease. The system enables precisely controlled, robotic-assisted angioplasties while the physician is seated in a lead-lined interventional cockpit protected from radiation exposure. CorPath allows the cardiologist to advance stents and guidewires millimeter-by-millimeter using joysticks and touchscreen controls. The remote robotics program is intended to extend the capability of CorPath to not just perform angioplasty in the same cath lab, but in labs hundreds of miles away.

"Forming the multi-disciplinary skills necessary to design and develop a product of this complexity is no small undertaking," said David Handler, CEO of Corindus. "But when pairing our technology leadership with the in-depth clinical knowledge from Sanford Health, we will work to deliver groundbreaking advances for heart care in rural health and pave a new way for robotics to benefit patients. The implications for remote robotics are vast and, with this partnership, we are taking the first step toward achieving those possibilities."

About Corindus Vascular Robotics
Corindus Vascular Robotics is the global technology leader in robotic-assisted percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs). The company's FDA-cleared CorPathฎ 200 System is the first medical device that offers interventional cardiologists PCI procedure control from an interventional cockpit. With the CorPath System, Corindus brings robotic precision to PCI procedures to help optimize clinical outcomes and minimize the costs associated with complications through improper stent placement. Corindus stands behind its technology with a "One Stent Promise," offering a $1,000 credit to hospitals that use two or more stents per lesion in PCI procedures performed with the CorPath System. For additional information, visit

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in nine states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel, Mexico and China. Sanford Health includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with nearly a billion dollars in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford. These gifts are making possible the implementation of several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding cures for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, please visit

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust's Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to specialty and emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $200 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, please visit

Reported by Burt Cohen, March 30, 2014