Robotically enhanced minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass surgery: A winning strategy?

N. Nesher, I. Bakir, F. Casselman, I. Degrieck, R. De Greest, F. Wellens, W. Willaert, Y. Vermeulen, H. Vanermen, Frank Van Praet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB) through a small anterolateral thoracotomy on the beating heart can be considered as the better approach for treating isolated lesions on the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. This original MIDCAB procedure, however, involves a larger and often painful thoracotomy due to rib spreading. We describe our experience with robotically enhanced harvesting of one or both internal mammary arteries (IMAs), and with anastomosis performed under direct vision on a beating heart through a very small thoracotomy without rib retraction. Methods. Between February 2001 and January 2006, 146 consecutive patients underwent robotically enhanced MIDCAB surgery. Perioperative and early follow-up data were analyzed. Results. In all, 144 left and 13 right IMAs were harvested. The mean extubation time was 11.3 h, the mean intensive care (ICU) stay was 30.3 h, the mean hospital stay 8 days. There were no in-hospital deaths, postoperative myocardial infarctions or renal failures. Systematic control angiograms performed in the first 64 patients showed a 96.3% patency rate of the investigated anastomoses. Conclusion. Robotically assisted takedown of the IMA and direct off-pump anastomosis through a small anterolateral thoracotomy with no rib retraction appears to be safe, with minimal morbidity, little blood loss, and a reasonable ventilation time, ICU and hospital stay. It is recommended as the preferred method of revascularization for a growing number of indications and certainly an acceptable alternative to percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures
  • Robotics
  • Thoracotomy


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