automated health care

Houston hospital system celebrates revolutionary robotic-assisted heart surgery

Another HCA Houston hospital hit a major milestone in robotics-assisted surgery. Photo courtesy of HCA

HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center has successfully completed a robotic-assisted coronary angioplasty — the first of its kind, the hospital reports.

Dr. Pranav Loyalka, cardiologist with Houston Heart, completed the procedure using the first and only FDA-cleared robotic-assisted technology. The process includes placing stents and balloons in patients with coronary artery disease.

"The first case was very successful. Sitting away from the patient in a radiation-protected cockpit, I was able to use a joystick to advance the catheter, millimeter by millimeter through the artery," says Dr. Loyalka in a news release. "Additionally, the enhanced visualization of the technology provided me with better measurement of the blockage and placement of the stent. In my opinion, the enhanced control, visualization and measurement of this technology will transform how we perform angioplasty procedures and ultimately improve patient care."

CAD, a common but deadly disease, is the leading cause of death in America. The treatment — angioplasty procedures — remains one of the most frequently performed in the country with nearly one million cases annually, but the procedure has remained unchanged for decades.

"An aging baby boomer population is driving demand for new innovative technologies to treat CAD," continues Dr. Loyalka. "Vascular robotics offers physicians and patients a minimally-invasive technology that may improve the precision of stent and balloon placements and reduce radiation of the procedure for physicians."

The robotics technology allows interventional cardiologists to perform the procedure away from the patient's bedside and seated in a radiation-protected cockpit. The physician uses a joystick to robotically move the procedure's tools — including catheters, angioplasty balloons, and stents — to clear the blockage and restore blood flow. Additionally, the technology allows interventional cardiologists to accurately measure blockages and precisely position stents, which may lead to fewer stent implants.

"We are proud to be one of the first medical centers in the area to perform this advanced procedure," says Chris Osentowski, chief executive officer at HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center. "It emphasizes our continuous commitment to delivering state-of-the-art technology to our patients and clinical community."

In March, HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake performed its first peripheral lung biopsy using robotic-assisted technology, making it the first hospital in the area to perform that procedure.

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Building Houston

 
 

Electric vans will now be delivering to Houston. Photo courtesy of Amazon

Amazon CEO/occasional space traveler Jeff Bezos is doing his best to supplant a certain jolly fellow from the North Pole as tops for holiday gift delivery.

His latest move: Amazon is rolling out more than 1,000 electric delivery vehicles, designed by electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, ready to make deliveries in more than 100 cities across the U.S. On the Texas good list: Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Bezos' juggernaut began deliveries in Dallas in July, along with Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.

These zero-emissions vans have delivered more than 5 million packages to customers in the U.S., according to Amazon. The latest boost in vehicles now includes Houston and Austin; Boston; Denver; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Madison, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; New York, Oakland, California; Pittsburgh, Portland, Oregon; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.

Plans for the Amazon and Rivian partnership call for thousands of vehicles on the road by the end of the year and 100,000 vehicles by 2030.

“We’re always excited for the holiday season, but making deliveries to customers across the country with our new zero-emission vehicles for the first time makes this year unique,” said Udit Madan, vice president of Amazon Transportation, in a statement. “We’ve already delivered over 5 million packages with our vehicles produced by Rivian, and this is still just the beginning—that figure will grow exponentially as we continue to make progress toward our 100,000-vehicle goal.”

This all comes as part of Amazon's commitment to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, as a part of its The Climate Pledge; Amazon promises to eliminate millions of metric tons of carbon per year with it s commitment to 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030, press materials note.

Additionally, Amazon announced plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years to further electrify and decarbonize its transportation network across Europe. This investment is meant to spark innovation and encourage more public charging infrastructure across the continent.

“Fleet electrification is essential to reaching the world’s zero-emissions goal,” said Jiten Behl, chief growth officer at Rivian, in a statement. “So, to see our ramp up in production supporting Amazon’s rollout in cities across the country is amazing. Not just for the environment, but also for our teams working hard to get tens of thousands of electric delivery vehicles on the road. They continue to be motivated by our combined mission and the great feedback about the vehicle’s performance and quality.”

A little about the vans: Drivers’ favorite features include a spacious cabin and cargo area, superior visibility with a large windshield and 360-degree cameras, and ventilated seats for fast heating and cooling — a must for Bayou City summers ... or winters, for that matter.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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