Wayne Markowitz, Executive Vice President of the Corindus business for Siemens Healthineers, explains how their robotic assisted platform is improving cardiovascular treatment modalities for patients and physicians
Interventional medicine is undergoing a fundamental shift in how it delivers care to patients and new technology is driving that shift. As emerging medical technologies such as robotic platforms, AI and data analytics become more ubiquitous, the field is evolving from a care model defined by trial and error to one defined by sound treatments backed by voluminous data and standardized procedural methods.
Those new technologies are impacting various specialties in different ways, but Siemens Healthineers identified a specific need for technology integration in interventional cardiology – a field beholden to manual techniques that put tremendous strain on physicians and did not fully optimize patient outcomes. The procedures are tedious, complex and physically demanding. Interventional cardiologists are prone to orthopedic injury and cataracts, and they experience the highest amount of radiation exposure of any medical professionals, increasing their risks of developing a malignant tumor.
“There’s an acute need for more widespread adoption of robotic-assisted platform in cardiology because of the nature of the specialty,” says Wayne Markowitz, Business Head & Worldwide Executive Vice-President of Corindus, a Siemens Healthineers company. “Interventional procedures are extremely delicate – misplacing a stent in the vasculature by a fraction of a millimeter can lead to a readmission and a second procedure for the patient. They are also dangerous for interventional cardiologists, who stand beside fluoroscopic machines that emit radiation during procedures.”
But robotic-assisted platforms, such as the CorPath® GRX System, can make procedures more precise by helping cardiologists navigate the vasculature with increased precision. They also can mitigate health concerns for cardiologists. CorPath GRX is the first FDA-cleared medical device to bring robotic assisted precision to both percutaneous coronary and vascular procedures.
“The robotic system removes the physician from the radiation field,” Markowitz explains. “Physicians control the device from behind a shield positioned away from the radiation source, which dramatically reduces their radiation exposure. That positioning also provides a much clearer visualization of the case. The physician sits at a robotic control station directly in front of a large, high-definition monitor, giving them a much better view of their work than standing hunched over the operating table. That visualization component also contributes to accuracy and precision.”
In separate studies, the CorPath GRX was shown to reduce radiation exposure for physicians performing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) by more than 95% and reduced radiation exposure for patients in the same procedure by 20% compared to manual PCI.
Elongating physician careers and allowing them to practice medicine safely is a growing concern. The Association for American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently reported about 60% of all cardiologists are over 55 years old, suggesting a potential physician shortage in the coming years as the US population ages.
To further support career longevity for physicians and high-level, standardized care, the next evolution of Siemens Healthineers’ technology will incorporate a higher degree of automation – giving the robotic platform freedom to make procedural movements that are “learned” from past procedures.
“We’re very excited to continue to develop procedural automation for cardiovascular intervention,” Markowitz says. “Automation will allow us to standardize patient outcomes and help physicians focus their energy on case strategy rather than the tedious task of manual device manipulation. Our technIQ™ Smart Procedural Automation Series replicates movements used by some of the most skilled interventional cardiologists in the world and gives physicians a powerful tool to move medical devices in the vasculature more efficiently. While portions of the case can be automated, we believe a physician should always monitor progression of the case live and intervene when necessary to ensure the highest levels of safety and patient care.”
The CorPath platform has performed approximately 10,000 interventions in over 15 countries around the world. As the volume of cases continues to grow, the team at Siemens Healthineers is actively training new physicians on the technology and spreading awareness about robotic capability in interventional cardiology. In late 2020, the company installed a CorPath GRX at Orsi Academy, the largest robotics training center in the world and a multidisciplinary school of robotic surgery located outside Brussels.
“The state-of-the-art facility at Orsi Academy allows us to host educational presentations, procedural demonstrations and hands-on training with physicians and other cath lab staff from around the world,” Markowitz adds. “New technologies tend to share the common challenge of learning how to use them before they can go into practice, and the Orsi Academy is an ideal partner in helping us train more physicians on the technology and making it more accessible for hospitals around the world.”