Medical Center of Trinity marks a first in Tampa Bay area

Medical Center of Trinity is the first medical institution in the Tampa Bay area to use the CorPath GRX system – a robotic-assisted device used in coronary care.

The hospital had a celebration on July 30 to unveil the device to the public.

Dr. Patrick Cambier, an interventional cardiologist at the medical center, has had the opportunity to operate using the new device.

Brandon Davis of Corindus Vascular Robotics Inc., demonstrated how the CorPath GRX system operates during a July 30 ribbon cutting ceremony at Medical Center of Trinity. The device is used to help treat blocked arteries. (Brian Fernandes)

“We’re very excited for the Medical Center of Trinity, that they decided to be the first hospital (in the Bay Area),” Cambier said. “It’s a completely new paradigm.”

The robotic arm handles medical tools that would otherwise be manually used by physicians – including a catheter and stents.

At a console station, the doctor maneuvers the arm using a set of joysticks. A large monitor shows where to guide the catheter, as its inserted into the patient’s artery.

The blockage can be pinpointed, through the use of an X-ray. A stent is inserted into the clogged artery with a balloon catheter. The balloon is inflated and the stent is locked into place, to keep the artery open.

Brandon Davis of Corindus Vascular Robotics Inc., explained the functions of the device, at the event, which took place in the hospital’s lobby.

“This robot can stretch out all the way across the patient and can go to any access point. It’s driving the wires and balloons through your artery, through your arm and all the way up to your heart,” he said.

In addition to being inserted through the forearm, it can also go through the femoral arteries in the thighs.

Although patients have limited exposure to radiation during a stent procedure, medical staff have higher safety risks that are two-fold, Davis added.

Despite wearing lead suits for precaution, staff are still exposed to radiation as they spend time around X-ray equipment.

The weight of the lead suit can also pose risks of spinal injury.

However, with the CorPath GRX, medical staff can work from their console station and keep a safe distance from the X-ray machine, while using the robot to operate.

Dr. Cambier said patients benefit because the machine reduces the chance of a medical error during the procedure.

“This allows us to raise the bar of existing equipment to a more precise fashion,” the cardiologist said. “It takes all of the variables of a human out, in terms of tremors [and] fatigue.”

While this is a new feature in the Bay Area, it has had considerable growth in the United States and abroad after being introduced in 2017.

There are more than 60 devices in use across the U.S., and the device is reaching such countries as Singapore, Japan, China and Brazil, Davis said.

The system also allows doctors to perform remote procedures.

“We’ve already done our first remote case in India where the physician was 20 miles away from the patient,” Davis explained. “That was done all wireless.”

Both Cambier and Davis pointed out that this technology is only advancing as efforts are underway to broaden its use into neurology. This would allow stroke victims to receive treatment from their operating physician, while in another region of the globe.

Last year, Cambier had to travel to Texas to train and acclimate himself to the new device. However, he welcomes other Bay Area physicians to train locally at Medical Center of Trinity and understand the robotic benefits.

“It starts making things much more uniform,” he said. “Uniformity leads to more consistent outcomes and [that’s] good for the patients of the Tampa Bay Area.”

Published August 07, 2019

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