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Question:

Is robotic surgery safer than open heart surgery for aortic valve replacement?

I am an asymptomatic 68 yr. old female diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. I am otherwise healthy. Angiogram showed clear arteries. Is robotic surgery safer than open heart surgery that involves cutting the breastbone?

Submitted by Annette from Morristown, New Jersey on 01/03/2014

Answer:
by Ross M. Reul, MD

Robotic surgery is not a good option for aortic valve replacement, however, there are several very good, less invasive approaches to replace the aortic valve. I prefer the upper ministernotomy approach because it is the safest of the less invasive operations. The transcatheter approach is not an option if you are asymptomatic and otherwise healthy, because it is higher risk than the conventional operation and reserved for only high risk patients.