Performing coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) without opening up the chest cavity might sound like a description of a cardiology procedure of the future, but at Emory, this groundbreaking advance in the surgical treatment of heart disease is now a reality.
The minimally invasive CABG procedure, called endoscopic atraumatic coronary artery bypass surgery (endo-ACAB), uses robotics-assisted endoscopic techniques that allow CABG to be performed using small incisions between the ribs rather than an open-chest approach with a large incision through the sternum (median sternotomy).
The advantages of the endo-ACAB approach are numerous, including the fact that it does not require the use of a heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass), often one of the riskiest aspects of open-heart surgery. In addition, recovery from endo-ACAB is drastically shorter and associated with significantly fewer complications than the open surgical approach. Most patients are able to leave the hospital within 48 hours and return to full activity, including work, in two to three weeks, rather than the two to three months generally needed for recovery after traditional CABG surgery.
Currently, Emory is the only cardiac surgery service in Georgia that offers the endo-ACAB procedure. Nationally, fewer than 10 institutions are using this technique.