World's First Remote Heart Operation a Success

Paul Lilly

Kenneth Crocker is in the books as the first person ever to undergo remote heart surgery , which was performed at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicestershire to correct an irregular heartbeat, UK's Daily Mail reports.

A 3-foot robotic arm shoved a thin surgical tube into the 70-year-old patient's body while the surgeon sat in a separate room controlling the delicate procedure with a remote control, steering the tube through a vein into the heart. By performing the procedure remotely, the surgeon was isolated from dangerous levels of radiation from the more than 250 X-rays to monitor the location of the probe for up to eight hours.

"I've been very excited about the operation for weeks," Crocker explained. "It's a little bit of extra magic being the first in the world. I tried cardioversion, which is electric shock therapy, and different medicines to get rid of the problem but so far nothing has worked. I've seen the robotic arm and it's an impressive piece of kit. I'd like to shake hands with it after when I'm cured but maybe that won’t be possible."

Given the success of the surgery, Dr. Ng, the surgeon who performed the operation, said the technique could be used to treat up to 50,000 Britons diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat each year, potentially reducing strokes and heart failure.

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