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Adam’s Story: “Space-Aged Machine” Helps Patient Overcome Heart Condition

September 05, 2014

"This sounds just like Star Wars. You'd expect Captain Kirk to walk up."

That was what went through Adam Lumsden's mind as he entered the surgery room and saw what he calls "a space-aged-looking machine."

On his 66th birthday, Adam was about to undergo a procedure to unblock a clogged artery near his heart. For most people, spending the day in the hospital wouldn’t be a very good birthday present. But for Adam, it was different. He was looking forward to getting an improved heart and a new lease on life.

For years, Adam had suffered from a condition known as coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease, causing nearly 380,000 deaths each year. It can start at a very young age, and over time, it causes your arteries to become hardened and clogged because of fatty deposits and plaque buildup.

This condition is what caused one of Adam’s arteries to become clogged. He experienced a constant cough, shortness of breath and ankle swelling, which made it difficult for Adam to do simple, everyday tasks. But finally, Adam decided to see a doctor—and that’s when they discovered the blocked artery.

Traditionally, the most common treatment for Adam’s condition is something called a coronary intervention, also known as angioplasty. This procedure involves using a balloon to physically open a blocked artery and help improve blood flow. During an angioplasty, cardiologists often use a small mesh tube, known as a stent, to prop open the artery and keep it open following the procedure. While nearly one million angioplasty procedures are performed in the United States each year, the procedure has remained largely unchanged for five decades—until now.

Thanks to that “space-aged-looking machine,” this highly common procedure has changed in a big way. That new machine is now allowing doctors to perform what is called a robotic-assisted angioplasty. And while Captain Kirk may not make an appearance, it’s making this procedure much safer for both patients and doctors.

Using new robotic technology, the revolutionary CorPath System, which was created by Corindus, allows cardiologists to perform angioplasty procedures with incredible precision and accuracy. Doctors have the ability to accurately measure blockages and precisely position stents, which could lead to fewer stent implants in patients in the future. Compared to traditional methods, the accuracy and precision of robotic heart surgery greatly improves the quality of care for patients.

Another benefit to this robotic technology is the radiation protection it provides to patients and doctors. Seated in a radiation-protected cockpit, doctors use joysticks, digital screens and robotic controls to perform the procedure entirely away from the patient’s bedside while still in the same room.

It may sound like something you’d see in a space odyssey movie, but luckily for Adam, this wasn’t something he saw on Star Wars—it was a reality.

With this new technology now available at Orlando Health, Adam became the very first patient in Florida to undergo a robotic-assisted angioplasty—and it turned out to be a great birthday present. Within days of the procedure, Adam said he noticed a huge difference in his health.

“I feel so much better now. I can’t wait to get home to take my blood pressure and see how low it’s gotten.”

Not only has Adam seen improvements in his health, but he’s also excited to return to a more active lifestyle.

“I’m looking forward, with my doctor’s guidance, to getting back on an exercise program, and my immediate goal is to lose 50 pounds.”

While Adam was just the first patient to undergo this procedure, our team of doctors plans to use our new “space-aged-looking machine” to help many more patients throughout the state.

To hear more of Adam’s story, take a look at our video below.