Scientists at Imperial College London have developed software designed to enable robot surgeons to operate on a beating heart, according to a report by the journal New Scientist.
The software is said to synchronize the movement of surgical tools with the movements of a beating heart.
Bypass operations are normally performed on a stopped heart, with the installation of an artificial pump to keep blood flowing around the patient’s body. If the technology proves successful, future heart bypass operations could be performed on a beating heart, effectively reducing patient trauma.
The report explained that the software is designed to be used with a robot called da Vinci and uses a two camera endoscope to feed images of the heart to a viewer. The software tracks the heart’s rhythm and instructs the surgical tools to move in synchrony with the heart’s movements.
Although the software has so far only been used on artificial silicone hearts using a robotic arm, scientists are said to be optimistic that the new software represents a major advancement in cardiac surgery techniques.