First long-distance heart surgery performed via robot

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In a feat of networking, engineering, and medicine, a doctor performed a heart procedure while standing 20 miles from his patient.

A doctor in India has performed a series of five percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures on patients who were 20 miles away from him. The feat was pulled off using a precision vascular robot developed by Corindus. The results of the surgeries, which were successful, have just been published in EClinicalMedicine, a spin-off of medical journal The Lancet.

The feat is an example of telemedicine, an emerging field that leverages advances in networking, robotics, mixed reality, and communications technologies to beam in medical experts to remote locations for everything from consultations to surgical procedures. Telemedicine, which could decentralize healthcare by distributing doctors into local communities virtually, could ease shortages of nurses and doctors and potentially cut healthcare costs. In France, people are already visiting Telehealth cabins for fast, convenient healthcare. During the recent Ebola crisis, the University of Virginia delivered care in parts of Africa via telemedicine.

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