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St. David's Medical Center Implements New Robotic Technology to Treat Common Heart Rhythm Disorders

St. David's is Second Hospital Nationwide to Acquire Groundbreaking Tool

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- St. David's Medical Center today announced its acquisition of a new robotic surgery system that allows for minimally invasive treatment of heart rhythm disorders that can result in a stroke. Called the Sensei(TM) Robotic Catheter System and Artisan(TM) Control Catheter, the new technology is only the second to be installed in the country after the Cleveland Clinic.

"The purchase of this technology builds on the already strong national reputation of St. David's as one of the leading centers in treating cardiac arrhythmias," David Huffstutler, Chief Executive Officer of St. David's Medical Center, said. "We are proud to be the second in the nation to provide this important new technology."

St. David's Medical Center acquired the first generation Sensei(TM) Robotic Catheter system and Artisan(TM) Control Catheter for use during complex interventional catheter-based procedures. The robotic system is designed to facilitate minimally invasive catheter-based procedures in the heart by providing physicians with more control over catheter placement compared to the more common manual technique.

"Robotic surgery -- with its many benefits to the patient and the surgeon -- is changing the way we perform complex cardiac procedures," said Dr. G. Joseph Gallinghouse, electrophysiologist, Texas Cardiovascular Consultants.

Physicians at St. David's Medical Center began operating with the Sensei(TM) Robotic Catheter System and Artisan(TM) Control Catheter in September 2007. To date, 14 patients have been treated with the new technology.

Heart rhythm disorders, called arrhythmias, affect millions of people each year. Roughly 2.2 million people in the United States suffer from one form of arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation or A Fib. During A Fib, the heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the brain, a stroke results.

According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC) approximately 75,000 strokes occur each year as a result of A Fib. These numbers continue to escalate as the population grows older. The new Sensei Robotic Catheter system is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the diagnostic phase of catheter-based arrhythmia procedures.

Prior to the introduction of robotic technology, the majority of electrophysiology (EP) procedures were done using a manual technique requiring physicians to perform a series of complex manipulations at one end of the catheter with inadequate assurance that the tip of the catheter would respond as desired while inside a patient's heart. As a result, achieving stable contact at every anatomic site within the heart necessary for a successful EP procedure could be difficult.

Benefits often experienced by patients undergoing robotic-assisted surgery include: shorter hospital stay, less discomfort, minimal risk of infection, less blood loss and transfusions, less scarring and faster recovery and return to normal daily activities.

To learn more about the Sensei(TM) Robotic Catheter System and Artisan(TM) Control Catheter visit

St. David's Medical Center

Since 1924, St. David's Medical Center has provided quality medical care to the residents of Central Texas. Conveniently located in central Austin at 32nd Street and IH-35, St. David's Medical Center provides comprehensive care with special expertise in neurology and neurosurgery, cardiac services, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, maternity and newborn services and rehabilitation. The medical center includes St. David's Hospital (acute care) and St. David's Rehabilitation Center (physical medicine and rehabilitation). For more information, please visit

Media Contact:

Kristin Marcum

Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations


SOURCE St. David's Medical Center
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