Robotic Coronary Revascularization is Feasible and Safe: 10-year Single-Center Experience

Heart Views. 2022 Oct-Dec;23(4):195-200. doi: 10.4103/heartviews.heartviews_53_22. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to investigate the outcomes of patients undergoing robotic surgical coronary revascularization whether total endoscopic coronary artery bypass (TECAB) or robotic-assisted minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (RA-MIDCAB) in our center.

Methods: This is a retrospective single-center study. It was conducted in the heart hospital at Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar. We retrospectively studied all cases that had single grafts, left internal mammary artery (LIMA) to left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery through a minimally invasive approach, either TECAB grafting or RA-MIDCAB grafting operations between February 2009 and December 2020. Both procedures were performed with the assistance of the da Vinci robotic system. In TECAB, the robotic system was used to harvest LIMA and perform the anastomosis with LAD. Whereas in RA-MIDCAB, LIMA was harvested by the robotic system but the anastomosis of LIMA to LAD was performed under direct vision through a small anterior thoracotomy incision. Seventy-one patients' files from the medical records department were reviewed. Preoperative data included age, gender, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), cardiac risk factors, Euro score, presentation, and the results of the cardiac investigations. The intraoperative data were the type of procedure, operative time, and whether the procedure was completed as planned or converted to thoracotomy or sternotomy. The postoperative data included the length of hospital stay, postoperative complications, 3-month clinic follow-up, and the need for repeat coronary angiography or revascularization.

Results: We found that our patients' ages ranged from 31 to 70 years. The majority were males, with 64 (90.14%) patients. Thirty-one (44.93%) patients were found to have a BMI of 25-29.9 Kg/m2. Forty-seven (66.2%) patients were hypertensive and 37 (52.11%) were diabetic. Dyslipidemia was reported in 35 (50%) patients. TECAB was the primary procedure in 47 (66.2%) patients and the rest underwent RA-MIDCAB. Only 7 (10.14%) patients underwent a planned hybrid procedure. The procedure was completed as planned in 52 (73.2%) patients. The mean operative time was 355.9 ± 95.79 min. Fourteen (19.72%) TECAB procedures were converted to MIDCAB, whereas 5 (7.04%) required sternotomy. Thirteen (18.3%) patients were extubated on the table, 47 (66%) patients were extubated in <24 h, and 7 (9.8%) patients were extubated after 24 h of the procedure. Forty-two (59%) patients stayed only 24 h in ICU and 24 (33.8%) spent more than 24 h. Blood transfusion was required in 8 (11.2%) patients. Only 2 (2.8%) patients experienced bleeding after the surgery. Postoperative infection was observed in 3 (4.29%) patients. No new cerebrovascular accident was detected among the patients after the procedure. Median postoperative hospital stay was 5 days, interquartile range 2, range (2-39). During the 3-month postoperative follow-up, we found that three unplanned coronary angiographies were required for repeat intervention, one of them for LIMA-LAD anastomosis. No redo surgery was performed. Thirty-day mortality was reported in two patients only.

Conclusion: From our experience over more than 10 years in robotic cardiac surgery in Qatar, we believe that robotic coronary revascularization is safe and feasible in selected patients mainly with single vessel coronary artery disease but should be performed in specialized centers and by robotic-trained surgeons.

Keywords: Coronary artery bypass grafting; MIDCAB; minimally invasive; retrospective; robotic; total endoscopic coronary artery bypass TECAB.