Pioneer in Robotic Cardiac Surgery Completes Milestone : Development and Perfection of Robotic-Assisted Mitral Valve Repair Boon to Patients…

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Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood, Jr., a globally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon, has performed his 400th robotic-assisted mitral valve repair. Pitt County Memorial Hospital (PCMH), the teaching hospital for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University (ECU), was the site for this landmark cardiac surgery on Friday, June 20. Chitwood has performed more robotic-assisted mitral valve operations than any surgeon in the world.

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By integrating computer-enhanced technology with the surgeons' technical skills, robotic-assisted procedures enable surgeons to perform better surgery in a manner never before experienced

Eleven cardiac surgeons from across the country observed the historic 400th robotic-assisted procedure while attending a two-day training program. Chitwood's robotic-assisted surgery training center at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU was the first site in the U.S. to offer formal training in robotic-assisted mitral valve repair procedures. This 400th milestone signifies the future for robotic-assisted cardiac surgery, as surgeons are now being trained to perform this highly complex mitral valve repair procedure through Chitwood's program.

"By integrating computer-enhanced technology with the surgeons' technical skills, robotic-assisted procedures enable surgeons to perform better surgery in a manner never before experienced," said Chitwood, president of the international Society of Thoracic Surgeons, director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular surgery at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU.

Chitwood is a pioneer in the development and expansion of robotic-assisted mitral valve repair surgery. In 1994, he began his pursuit to improve minimally invasive cardiac surgery, specifically the mitral valve repair procedure, and did the first minimally invasive mitral valve repair in North America in 1996 at PCMH. Recognizing that endoscopic methods already used in surgery on other parts of the body could provide better visibility and access to the mitral valve, Chitwood devised a set of special instruments to simplify the repair procedure.

In 1999, Chitwood applied his endoscopic expertise to robotic technology and contributed to the development of the da Vinci® Surgical System, a $1.5 million robotic surgical device made by Intuitive Surgical of Sunnyvale, Calif. In 2000, Chitwood used the da Vinci® System to perform the first complete, robotic-assisted mitral valve repair in North America as part of a multi-center, FDA-approved trial. It was the second such procedure in the world. In November 2002, the FDA approved the robotic-assisted mitral valve repair procedure and to date, several thousand mitral valve repairs with da Vinci® have taken place around the world.

For the complete media release containing more information on this milestone and the mitral value repair procedure, visit UHSEast.com.

To download a media kit, including fact sheets, hi-res images and video clips of the 400th procedure, an interview with Dr. Chitwood following the operation and general B-roll footage, visit JenningsCo.ShareFile.com.

MULTIMEDIA GALLERY http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5715374

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