Cardiothoracic Surgeon Performs Groundbreaking Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

August 23, 2017

Kourosh Asgarian, D.O., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center, successfully completed the hospital’s first robotic-assisted minimally invasive Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) using the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, the most advanced surgical robot available. Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the first hospital in the region to offer robotic assisted CABG to treat patients with coronary artery disease, and one of the only hospitals in New Jersey with this capability. Robotic surgery is far less invasive than traditional surgery, providing patients with better outcomes, significantly reducing the traumatic impact and recovery for patients.

“The clinical team at Jersey Shore University Medical Center is thrilled to provide this groundbreaking cardiovascular bypass robotic surgery to our patients,” said Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP, president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “The cutting-edge advancements in cardiovascular care are transforming our treatment options, further improving the quality of life for our patients. Dr. Asgarian and the entire cardiovascular team continue to place Jersey Shore University Medical Center on the forefront of cardiovascular care, ensuring that advanced, high-quality, patient-centered services are easily accessible to our community members.”

The robotic-assisted CABG surgery, also known as closed-chest heart surgery, has revolutionized the way certain heart operations are being performed across the country. This innovative technology allows complex cardiovascular surgeries to be performed through smaller incisions and precise motion control, offering patients improved outcomes in comparison to the conventional sternotomy approach.

A traditional sternotomy, also known as open-heart surgery, is a vertical incision down the middle of the chest that cuts the sternum (chest wall) in half to allow surgeons to access the heart. This standard type of procedure is known to have a long, painful recovery for the patient and leaves the patient with a large scar, as a constant reminder of their procedure.

“Robotic-assisted CABG is the newest and most advanced minimally invasive cardiac procedure, improving the lives of our cardiac patients,” said Dr. Asgarian.  “This less traumatic, less invasive approach provides patients with better outcomes, a shorter hospital stay and an accelerated recovery, ultimately minimizing the risks of complications following open-heart surgery.”

Dr. Asgarian performed the first robotic-assisted CABG at Jersey Shore University Medical Center last month on Brian Kemp, a 56-year-old resident of Brick, New Jersey. Mr. Kemp suffered a heart attack. When he learned about the robotic alternative to traditional open-heart surgery, he was very enthusiastic. “Heart disease runs in my family. My father had traditional bypass surgery in 1980 and I was envisioning that nightmare, having my sternum split open, followed by a very long and difficult recovery. The robotic surgery gave me new hope and a whole new perspective on cardiac surgery options.”

The minimally invasive surgery requires three small incisions in the chest. The surgeon places thin surgical instruments and a specialized camera into the da Vinci XI robot. The surgeon uses the camera to view the surgical field and is provided with a clear, 3D view of the chest. The left internal mammary artery is gathered using the robotic instruments and is then connected to the blocked coronary artery either through the incisions already in place or through a small separate incision on the front of the chest.

Robotic-assisted CABG procedures provide significant benefits to patients, including less blood loss, quicker recovery, less trauma to the patient’s body and minimal scarring.  There is a decreased infection rate and shorter hospital stays, along with a quicker return to daily and professional activities. Robotic-assisted surgical patients have a higher survival rate than that of sternotomy patients.

Further, this innovative procedure is providing an alternative treatment option to patients ineligible for traditional open-heart surgery, pending evaluation.  Some patients are unable to undergo traditional open-heart surgery because of existing health issues – patients who are at risk of a stroke, those who suffer from peripheral vascular or renal disease, and those with poor lung function.

“The robot is part of the surgery, not the operation, and makes the operation easier for physicians to execute with minimal impact on the patient,” Dr. Asgarian added.  Specializing in minimally-invasive cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Asgarian has extensive clinical and academic experience in advanced cardiac procedures. He is the only surgeon in the region to perform robotic-assisted CABG procedures and one of the only surgeons in the New York metropolitan performing this procedure.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the cardiac surgery provider for the greater Monmouth and Ocean county region, and consistently achieves success rates among the nation’s best. Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the only hospital in New Jersey to receive 3-star ratings from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) in Coronary Artery Bypass Graph (CABG) surgery as well as CABG + Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR) surgery. Cardiologists at Jersey Shore University Medical Center perform a full range of services, from diagnostics and medical treatment, through surgery and rehabilitation. The Congenital Heart Disease and Cardiac Care Program, one of the most comprehensive in New Jersey, is led by experts who care for both adult and pediatric patients born with structural heart conditions. Jersey Shore University Medical Center has one of the largest and most experienced catheterization lab programs in the tri-state area, complete with diagnostic and interventional options. Additionally, the CardioVascular Intensive Care Unit  delivers the most advanced care available for hospitalized cardiovascular patients requiring intensive monitoring, with an emphasis on patient comfort and convenience.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

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