Robot to carry out heart surgery
A robotic arm able to carry out an intricate life-saving heart operation is being pioneered by UK surgeons.
The robot is used to guide thin wires through blood vessels in the heart to treat a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Doctors at St Mary's Hospital in London say it will reduce risk for patients and increase the number of procedures they can carry out.
More than 20 patients have been operated on with the robot, which is only one of four in use in the world.
During the procedure, known as catheter ablation, several thin wires and tubes are inserted through a vein in the groin and guided into the heart where they deliver an electric current to specific areas of heart muscle.
The electric current destroys tiny portions of heart tissue which are causing the abnormal heartbeat.
With the Sensei robot, surgeons use a joystick on a computer console to more accurately position and control the wires, which often need to be placed in locations that are difficult to reach.
In the future the system could be automated so the robot guides the wires to a point in the heart selected by the doctor from images on a computer screen.