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Doctors may offer heart ops without missing a beat

Written by: Staff

LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) Surgeons may soon be able to operate on a beating heart using software that synchronises its pumping action with the movement of robotic surgical tools, New Scientist magazine reported.

Special motion software, developed at Imperial College London, has been designed for use with a surgical robot to perform procedures such as bypass surgery, the magazine said yesterday.

In traditional bypass surgery, the heart is usually stopped and an artificial pump used to keep the blood flowing around the body.

But this is traumatic as it involves opening up the heart and means the blood must be rerouted through a machine.

The new software, used with a robot called da Vinci, uses a two-camera endoscope that feeds images to a viewer. The software models the heart and creates a three-dimensional image which appears to the surgeon to be stationary.

At the same time, the software tracks the beating of the heart and instructs the robot's instruments to move back and forth in time with the movement.

The software has so far only been tested on artificial silicone hearts using a robotic arm.

Reuters CS DB0932

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