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Robot-Assisted Cardiac Procedures

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Robot-Assisted Cardiac Procedures


A robot-assisted cardiac surgery is when a doctor guides small robotic arms through tiny cuts to do surgery on the heart. It allows for greater range of motion than regular surgery.

Reasons for Procedure

This method is used when surgery needs to be precise. Examples of robot-assisted cardiac surgeries are:

  • Mitral valve repair to treat:
    • Stenosis —narrowing of the mitral valve
    • Regurgitation—leakage of the mitral valve
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) to treat:
    • Blockages in the heart’s arteries
    • Severe chest pain, such as angina that has not been helped by medicine
  • Atrial septal defect repair to treat a hole between the upper chambers of the heart that does not close properly during fetal development
  • Biventricular pacemaker lead placement to treat heart failure due to atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heart rhythm in the upper chambers of the heart
Pacemaker Placement.

Pacemaker leads implanted in heart to maintain normal rhythm.

Pacemakerhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=76577657si55551744.jpgsi55551744.jpgNULLjpgsi55551744.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551744.jpgNULL14NULL2008-12-102493907657_144249Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The benefits of this type of surgery are:

  • Less blood loss
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Less scarring
  • Less trauma to the body
  • Faster recovery
  • Less time in the hospital

Possible Complications

Problems from robot-assisted surgeries are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs or structures
  • The need to switch to traditional surgery types, such as traditional laparoscopic or open surgery

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from an incision
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Pain or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
  • Headache or lightheadedness
  • New or unexpected symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Approaches to heart surgery. Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Surgery website. Available at: https://columbiasurgery.org/heart/approaches-heart-surgery.
  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/coronary-artery-bypass-graft-cabg-surgery.
  • Robotic surgery center. The Robotic Surgery Center at NYU Langone Medical Center website. Available at: https://nyulangone.org/locations/robotic-surgery-center.
  • Robotically assisted heart surgery. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17438-robotically-assisted-heart-surgery.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.