a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 588.2

Guest: Dr. Ralph Damiano, Chief of Cardiothoracic surgery, Penn State Hershey Medical Center 

Topic: Robotics assisted bypass surgery 

Host: Steve Girard 

NEMA: The future of coronary surgery...up next.. 

SPOT:For 15 years, the National Emergency Medicine Association has worked against stroke, heart disease and trauma. Join the effort, call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: Penn State Hershey Medical Center is testing a coronary surgery system which would allow surgeons to do a bypass without making major incisions...using robotic arms, computers and video... through small holes in the chest. Dr. Ralph Damiano is chief of cardiothoracic surgery...  

DAMIANO: Through one hole would be placed a camera, which would also be controlled by a robotic arm, which would be your eyes. And through the other two holes would be the two other robotic arms, which would hold surgical instruments...and they would be the surgeon’s hands  

NEMA: The system allows for incredible precision, but...  

DAMIANO: The robot is only as good as the surgeon who’s operating it.  

NEMA: Dr. Damiano says not cutting the breastbone to perform coronary surgery would mean less pain and discomfort, a shorter hospital stay and lower costs...  

DAMIANO: Several years down the line...it could be that you’ll be going home the next morning after heart surgery.  

NEMA: It’ll be at least a year before the first endoscopic bypass happens...it first goes through FDA review. I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.