The robotic device at Sharjah’s Al Qasimi Hospital conducts catheterisation and cardiac surgery through computerised systems supervised by doctors. Image Credit: Al Qasimi Hospital

Dubai: Surgeons at Al Qasimi Hospital have lauded their latest companion at the operating table – a robot — in performing accurate cardiac surgeries.

The Ministry of Health has launched the robotic device at Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah to conduct catheterisation and cardiac surgery, all through computerised systems supervised by local doctors, said Dr. Arif Al Nouriani, Cardio Consultant and Head of Cardiac Catheter Unit and CEO of Al Qasimi Hospital.

“The modern robot is characterised in the cultivation of stents and helps in reducing re-catheterisation to preserve the safety of the patient’s health,” Dr Al Nouriani said.

Robots performing surgeries is considered one of the latest advanced techniques in medicine that is highly encouraged in developed countries. Robots assist doctors in conducting accurate surgeries that may take a long time depending on laparoscopic [key-hole] surgical devices.

The first successful operation using the robot at Al Qasimi Hospital was performed on June 26, two days after the device’s installation. Robot consultants from the United States participated in the operation.

Nine more surgeries were performed in the UAE and the US by the medical and technical staff until August 10. The patients, two UAE nationals and seven expatriates, were aged between 49 and 79.

Robots are best used in key-hole surgeries as they can move with ease in tight spaces. They allow accuracy in surgeries such as coronary angioplasty, which opens up clogged arteries through the cultivation of stents, the small mesh tubes used to treat narrow or weak arteries by helping support its walls. The one-millimetre or even smaller stents also improve blood flow and help prevent arteries from bursting.

The pinpoint accuracy of the robot reduces the possibility or re-catheterisation of the arteries. With it, possible miscalculation on the number of stents needed per patient is eliminated, reducing operation costs.

If a doctor gets exhausted after long hours spent on the operating table, the robot’s sensitive arm can move carefully inside the patient’s body, causing less possible damage to nerves and tissues during the operation.

Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health, said the latest addition of this technology at Al Qasimi Hospital was made possible through the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to improve health-care services for UAE nationals. Some Dh54 million was provided to the hospital to acquire modern equipment.

Dr Yousuf Al Sarkal, Assistant Undersecretary for Hospitals Sector, said the ministry is keen to conduct several studies on cardiac catheterisation operations performed using robots as it prepares to transition to modern surgical methods.