Cardiology, surgery presents: live heart surgical broadcast of a robotic assisted Mitral valve repair

18 January 2005

East Carolina University cardiothoracic surgeon W. Randolph Chitwood and his surgical team performed a mitral valve repair using the da Vinci Surgical System during a live webcast January 18, 2005 on

Each year, more than 50,000 procedures are performed on the mitral valve, which regulates the blood flow from the left atrium, or holding chamber, to the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber.

Chitwood and his surgical team performed the first total heart valve surgery using robotic technology in North America in May 2000. To date, he has performed more than 175 mitral valve repairs using the da Vinci Surgical System.

"During these first 176 operations, we have learned that cardiac surgery can be done safely using robotic techniques with the same results as a full sternotomy (full chest incision). Visualization and dexterity are much better," Chitwood said.

Chitwood pointed out that the majority of patients have excellent post-surgery recuperation results after minimally invasive, robotically assisted mitral valve surgery. The average length of stay in the hospital is less than four days compared with eight days for conventional open-heart procedures. Most patients are back to work in 10 to 14 days.

Chitwood is professor of surgery, chief of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, and senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. The operation will be performed at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, the affiliated teaching hospital for ECU's medical school. The Webcast will be moderated by the director of the Robotic Training Center at ECU, cardiothoracic surgeon Wiley Nifong.

The da Vinci Surgical System, developed and produced by Intuitive Surgical, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for its first cardiac use (mitral valve repair) in November 2002. Chitwood served as principal investigator for the 10-hospital FDA Phase 1 study and the expanded Phase 2 study that led to that approval.

Visit to view a program preview video. A VNR is available at

The webcast uses RealPlayer from RealNetworks, Inc. to display both video and synchronized slides in side-by-side windows.

Video-Link available:


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