Virtual Reality Simulation for Minimally Invasive Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting With Aortic No-Touch Total Arterial Grafting Technique

Innovations (Phila). 2022 Sep;17(5):430-437. doi: 10.1177/15569845221129212. Epub 2022 Nov 4.


Objective: Virtual reality can be applied preoperatively by surgeons to gain precise insights into a patient's anatomy for planning minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) with in situ arterial grafts. This study aimed to examine virtual reality simulation for minimally invasive CABG with in situ arterial grafts.

Methods: Preoperative stereolithographic files in 35 in situ arterial grafts were converted using 320-slice computed tomography and workstation. The accurate length and direction of each graft were confirmed through virtual reality glasses. The simulation of graft designs was performed by using an immersive virtual reality platform.

Results: The mean harvested lengths of in situ left internal thoracic artery (n = 17), right internal thoracic artery (n = 12), and gastroepiploic artery (n = 6) grafts predicted by virtual reality simulation were 21.4 ± 3.4 cm, 21.2 ± 3.6 cm, and 22.8 ± 4.8 cm. The required lengths of these grafts predicted by virtual reality simulation were 15.8 ± 2.3 cm, 16.4 ± 2.1 cm, and 14.5 ± 4.4 cm. Minimally invasive CABG using virtual reality simulation was completed in 17 patients, of whom 16 patients underwent aortic no-touch total arterial CABG. The surgical strategy was adjusted in 11.8% of the cases due to the 3-dimensional virtual reality-based anatomy evaluation. The early mortality and morbidity were 0%, and the patency of the graft was 100%. The median time to return to full physical activity was 7.1 days.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated the successful development and clinical application of the first dedicated virtual reality platform for planning aortic no-touch total arterial minimally invasive CABG. Virtual reality simulation can allow the accurate preoperative understanding of anatomy and appropriate planning of the graft design with acceptable postoperative outcomes.

Keywords: coronary artery bypass grafting; minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting; minithoracotomy; virtual reality simulation.

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / surgery
  • Humans
  • Mammary Arteries* / transplantation
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virtual Reality*