Medical automaton assists human doctor – another Leicester first
Dr Ng, who is a Consultant Cardiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, was selected to conduct the first clinical procedure using the new Remote Catheter Manipulation System (RCMS) developed by Catheter Robotics Inc. of New Jersey.
Catheters are used in cardiology to treat irregular heart rhythms by ‘ablation’ - the cauterisation of specific points inside the heart. The easiest way to reach the heart is, surprisingly, from the groin where the femoral artery provides a relatively large and direct (if slightly long) route. However, guiding the catheter requires constant use of X-rays and this in turn requires the doctor to wear a cumbersome lead apron, which is not exactly conducive to the precision and finesse which is essential in this procedure.
The RCMS, which has been extensively tested in pre-clinical trials, uses a robot arm to guide the catheter, controlled by the doctor from an adjacent room. Not only can the doctor make very precise movements (using a Gameboy-style control pad), they can do so while carefully studying the various monitors which would normally be some distance away.
Glenfield Hospital in Leicester has one of the country’s leading Cardiology Departments and Dr Ng is a world-renowned expert in this field. Further clinical trials into the use of the RCMS (which is distributed in the UK by Dot Medical) will be conducted with the support of the new Biomedical Research Unit, a collaboration between the University and the Hospitals Trust.