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Al Qasimi Hospital performs first robotic key-hole cardiac surgery

Surgery was done using a robotic system eliminating the need to stop the heart and open the chest cavity

Gulf News

Sharjah: Emirati Salem Mohammad’s underwent heart surgery in Al Qasimi Hospital on Thursday. He was up and about the next day, taking breakfast and recuperating very fast.

Surgeons at Al Qasimi Hospital successfully saved Mohammad’s life by operating on his heart without opening his chest cavity, believed to be a first in the UAE, thanks to the pinpoint precision provided by robotic surgeries.

The 62-year-old UAE national from Fujairah was suffering from chest pain due to total blockage of his left anterior descending artery. This artery branches off the left coronary artery in the heart and supplies blood to the front of the left side of the heart.

“The patient had had an angioplasty [procedure used to open blocked or narrowed coronary arteries] done two months ago. He was referred to us for further [examination and action],” Dr Arif Al Nouriani, Cardio Consultant and Head of Cardiac Catheter Unit and CEO of Al Qasimi Hospital, told Gulf News.

The patient was operated on Thursday using the da Vinci Surgical System. Dr Rafiq Abu Samra, Head of the Cardiac Surgery Unit at Al Qasimi Hospital, collaborated with a team of surgeons from Belgium for the surgery.

Four incisions with a maximum size of 5mm each were made on the left part of the patient’s chest to access his beating heart, Dr Al Nouriani said. One incision was made for the camera, one for the stabiliser, and the two others were for the robotic arms to probe the patient’s heart.

Using the system, the main surgeon, seated at the console a few metres from the patient, cane have his eyes and hands positioned in line with the instruments inside the patient’s chest. He can very precisely perform the operation using magnified images of the patient’s chest of up to 15 to 16 times.

“Currently, the patient is well. He was having breakfast the next day after the operation. He was mobile, without any big scar in his chest,” Dr Al Nouriani said on Saturday. “He can go home on the third or fourth day.”

Dr Al Nouriani said the surgery’s success is significant because it increases the success rate of the outcome of the patient. It allows patients to recover quickly without having to suffer pain as a result of an open-heart surgery. Besides no ugly scars, the patient can quickly go back to his or her normal life, Dr Al Nouriani said.

Dr Al Nouriani said this type of procedure for UAE nationals is shouldered by the government. They are negotiating for the most reasonable price for non-UAE nationals should they need to get it done here. The same surgery costs between Dh300,000 and Dh500,000 abroad.

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