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UAE’s XCath showcases future of surgery with world’s first telerobotic surgery trial

UAE’s XCath showcases future of surgery with world’s first telerobotic surgery trial
16 May 2024 08:29

SARA ALZAABI (ABU DHABI)

On the final day of the Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week, held at Abu Dhabi National Exibition Centre (ADNEC) through May 15, the Future Health Summit held as part of the event witnessed the world’s first telerobotic surgery trial during the satellite session “The Future of Surgical Robotics and the Regional Opportunity”.

The trial was demonstrated by XCath (Sharjah-based Crescent Enterprises) live on stage, and was conducted remotely all the way from Abu Dhabi to Seoul, South Korea, showcasing the possibilities of remote robotic surgery for stroke and cardiovascular emergencies.

The demonstration featured a mock remote thrombectomy, which involves the surgical removal of a blood clot in an artery, typically used to treat stroke cases.

“Strokes are basically blood clots that become lodged in the brain’s blood vessels. It stands as the world’s foremost cause of death and disability, affecting over 50 million patients annually. Alarmingly, one in four stroke cases results in mortality, with half of survivors left chronically disabled,” said Eduardo Fonseca, CEO of XCath.

Fonesca noted that strokes are not only a significant burden on healthcare systems, but sources of emotional and financial hardship on patients and their families.

“This innovative solution aims to democratise and provide access to this treatment, transforming the way we view technology and healthcare,” he added.

Dr. Vitor Mendes Pereira, Professor of Medical Imaging and Surgery at the University of Toronto, delved into the advancements in stroke treatment and performed the remote thrombectomy.

Dr. Pereira controlled a robotic arm that was physically located in South Korea. Using a silicone replica of a patient that accurately simulates the entire blood vessel system, he then showcased how the remote surgery could operate in a real-world context.

Rapid Intervention

Strokes are medical events that necessitate immediate treatment, and early detection and intervention are key to survival, he said.

Globally, however, stroke sensors are scarce due to equipment and expertise issues, resulting in underserved populations lacking access to care. The remote thrombectomy procedure has promising potential to help patients around the world, regardless of circumstance, receive quick and effective treatment.

“I believe it is crucial for all of us to undertake the mission of educating everyone about the early signs of stroke. Patients should promptly go to the hospital so that diagnosis and treatment can be initiated swiftly. Timely diagnosis and treatment are essential, as they are the critical factors in improving patient outcomes,” Dr. Pereira said.

Also speaking during the demonstration, Dr. Frederic Moll, a pioneer of robotic surgery based in Palo Alto, California, noted that robotcs, especially used in combination with AI and machine learning, is set to revolutionise the future of surgey.

“We introduced robots to surgery 25 years ago, and although thousands are used daily, this robotic technique mirrors surgical technique. This evolution is driven by an improved understanding of disease, leading to the development of new techniques that demand innovative technology,” he said.

“I believe we are just getting started in the field of robotics, and I anticipate that robotic systems will provide major refinement in the future of medical intervention,” Dr. Moll added.

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