London Health Sciences Centre announces cardiac surgery world first

Pacemaker complication repaired using minimally invasive surgery

LONDON, Ontario, May 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is proud to announce another world first. LHSC's cardiac surgery team successfully performed an emergency surgery to repair a hole in a patient's heart caused by a pacemaker complication using the DaVinci robot.

On February 15, 2011, LHSC cardiac surgeon, Dr. Bob Kiaii received an emergency page. Patient Viola Addison had a hole in her heart that required immediate repair. The hole was caused by a pacemaker lead that had perforated the wall of her heart. Traditionally, this surgery is done via open chest surgery.

"The use of robotic surgery allows us to continually improve our surgery techniques and treat patients who are considered high risk for traditional surgery in a less invasive way," says Dr. Kiaii. "The heart is a moving object - as it pumps blood and oxygen throughout the body the heart walls move in and out. This movement makes traditional endoscopic surgery very risky and challenging. The robot gives me the manual dexterity needed to perform surgeries that require precision like this one."

With Ms. Addison's chest closed, and using the robot on the beating heart, Dr. Kiaii placed a suture around the hole where the pacemaker lead had perforated through the wall of the heart. Next, the cardiology team pulled the pacemaker lead back into place while the surgery team closed the hole. This minimally invasive approach resulted in no bleeding, no complications and left Ms. Addison with only three small keyhole incisions. The surgery team was able to anchor the same pacemaker lead to a new position.

After a two-day stay at the hospital, Ms. Addison went home. Ms. Addison says for her the surgery was a "breeze":
"I am not in any pain and I am no longer out of breath. I don't know where I would be without the surgery - it was something that had to be done."

Surgical robots have been used in London since 1999 when LHSC acquired its first surgical robot. In 2000, LHSC established CSTAR, Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics, as a research and education program in partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and The University of Western Ontario to advance minimally invasive robotic surgeries.

LHSC's President and CEO, Bonnie Adamson congratulated the LHSC staff and surgeons.
"This is a great example of the ongoing and proud tradition of medical firsts at LHSC."

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 135 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children's Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes - Children's Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph's Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital's nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit