Scientists have created a self-driving robot surgeon for heart surgery

Specialists from Boston children’s hospital (USA) have developed and successfully tested an Autonomous robotic flexible catheter is able to touch to navigate inside the heart and reach the heart valves. Verification of the invention for Autonomous detection of heart valves was carried out on the living hearts of pigs. Good development of scientists according to an article published in the journal Science Robotics.

Currently, operations in the cardiac cavity the surgeons performed in two different ways: minimally, when the sternum is not cut, and all actions are performed through a small incision between the ribs, and transsternal way, when the heart is opened through the sternum cut. The latter case requires a longer recovery period and can sometimes be difficult. Minimally invasive surgery in turn are held via a managed flexible catheters with minimal surgical intervention. The hardest part of such operations — orientation within the cardiovascular system and the heart. These operations are performed without stopping the heart and blood flow greatly complicates visual orientation. Progress monitoring catheter is usually performed using echocardiography, but the method is not able to provide clear visualization.

Scientists from USA tested robocaller flexible, able to navigate in the cavity of the heart to the touch thanks to a special sensor mounted on its end, as well as a special computer algorithm was developed using machine learning and measuring the magnitude of the pressure exerted on the walls of the body. The device is able to distinguish the muscular wall of the heart and connective tissue, as well as to investigate the condition of the valves.

Verification of the invention was carried out on the hearts of several pigs of the Yorkshire breed, which made replacement of the valves of the aorta artificial. Thus, during the operation to simulate paravalvular leakage, that is, pushing blood through the gap between the aorta wall and the valve, the scientists deliberately installed the new valves properly. The researchers explain that such podsekanie can arise, for example, in infectious lesions of the zones after installation of artificial valves.

After the introduction of robocaller through a surgical puncture closer to the apex of the heart, it switched to offline mode. After the device self touch has reached the desired valve robocaller transferred to manual control, in which the physician-operator carried out the installation of a special device for closing the gaps between the valve and the vascular wall. As the researchers note, Autonomous method of detecting valve showed 95 percent accuracy, however, the fidelity of the aortic ring during the examination was only 66 percent.

In General, experts say, the use of the catheter offline enabled faster detection valve. And the relatively low accuracy of the search of the aortic annulus, the researchers explain the overestimated for experiments with the sensitivity of the sensor, where the catheter is only slightly touching the walls of the body.