Minimally invasive heart bypass surgery using a DaVinci robot means a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery for patients, as well as fewer complications and a better chance that the new bypass vessels will stay open. And, according to a University of Maryland study, robotic heart bypass surgery also makes good economic sense for hospitals. The study will be presented at the American Surgical Association on April 26, 2008.
Using a surgical robot increases the cost of each bypass case by about $8,000, according to Robert S. Poston, M.D., a cardiac surgeon formerly at the University of Maryland Medical Center who is the lead author of the study. He says those additional expenses, which are due to equipment and supplies, are offset by a shorter hospital stay, reduced need for transfusions and fewer post-surgical complications that would require a patient to be re-admitted to the hospital. Especially with high risk patients who have lung or kidney disease or other health problems, the researchers found that the minimally invasive, robotic approach saves costs.
These findings are significant because payers are considering linking reimbursement for coronary artery bypass surgery to patient outcomes, says Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Our study shows that there are health benefits to patients from the minimally invasive approach, both in terms of a shorter recovery and also looking at the function of the bypass graft months after the surgery, adds Dr. Bartlett, who is one of the studys co-authors.
While the DaVinci surgical robot is in widespread use for prostate surgery, the University of Maryland Medical Center is among only a few hospitals nationwide, and was one of the first in the U.S., to use the robot to perform multiple vessel heart bypass surgery.
|Contact: Ellen Beth Levitt|
University of Maryland Medical Center