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BBC visit LHCH to discover more about robotic surgery

Date: 02 August 2017 03:15

BBC North West Tonight visited Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital to find out more about plans to establish the UK’s first robotic heart and lung surgery programme.

(courtesy of BBC North West Tonight and reporter Katie Walderman)

A £2 million campaign has been launched by Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Charity to help set up the programme, which will enable more patients requiring specialist cardiothoracic treatment to benefit from cutting edge surgery.

Heart disease kills someone every six minutes and it’s estimated that more than 12 million people are living with some form of lung disease. 

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital – the first specialist Trust in the country to be rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission – is at the forefront of the battle against these two leading causes of death in the UK.

As one of the largest specialist hospitals in the country, it serves a population of 2.8 million people, spanning Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and the Isle of Man, and sees more than 100,000 patients each year. 

Mr Paul Modi, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at the hospital, said:  “The benefits of this new programme for our patients will be enormous. 

“Whilst we are already a leading centre for minimally invasive surgical procedures, we are at the absolute limit of the numbers that we can help this way with our existing equipment.

“With a robotic surgery programme, we will be able to significantly increase the number of patients who can undergo minimally invasive surgery.  Equally importantly, we will also be able to reduce their post-operative pain, lower their risk of infection, and ensure that their stay in hospital is considerably reduced, getting them back to their family and loved ones quicker, which is where they want to be.”

He added: “The new programme will also enable us to operate on those who are currently considered inoperable because of their health, as there is far less trauma to the body operating through small incisions only a few millimetres in length, rather than the more traditional open surgery.

“This is especially important as we live in an ageing society and more people are living with a number of health problems. Robotic surgery can make a huge difference to their lives.” 

Mr Mike Shackcloth, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon, added: “Our new robotic programme will not only allow us to provide even better care for our patients, but it will also enable us to develop a training and research programme that will ensure that  we can attract the top trainees and consultants in the future.

“Our team at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital have national and international reputations for outstanding care and treatment, and our new robotics programme will ensure we remain at the leading edge of advances in surgery.”

The four-armed da Vinci robot is named after the Renaissance artist and inventor who foresaw the coming of robots.  Operated by a consultant surgeon, the robot behaves the same way as a surgeon would when carrying out open surgery, but through tiny holes - a technique known as minimally invasive surgery.

Using the robot gives surgeons a high-definition view of the operating site in 3D via a screen inside the control console, ensuring even greater surgical precision.

To find  out more about the hospital’s campaign to bring robotic surgery to Liverpool, visit www.lhchcharity.org.uk or call the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Charity office on 0151 600 1409.