LHSC performs world-first robotic cardiac surgery


Patient James (Jim) Fuller and Dr. Bob Kiaii, LHSC Chief of Cardiac Surgery

October 29, 2018

London Health Sciences Centre is once again paving the way for advancements in both cardiac and robotic surgery, performing the world’s first robotic assisted aortic valve replacement in patients with aortic valve stenosis, using the da Vinci® surgical system.


Performed by a multidisciplinary team, led by Dr. Bob Kiaii, LHSC Chief of Cardiac Surgery, the procedure used a tissue valve called the Perceval S Valve from Liva Nova. This new generation valve is a suture-less valve, which facilitates performance of less invasive aortic valve replacement. While the valve has been in use for some time, this marks the first time the da Vinci® robot has been used to perform this delicate procedure on a patient diagnosed with aortic stenosis - a narrowing of the aortic artery due to calcification. 

“We have been working for some time to perfect this procedure, knowing it would be of great benefit to some of our patients,” said Dr. Kiaii. “By using the robot, we were able to perform this surgery much more easily without disturbing the breastbone, with much better visualization. This results in far less traction on the ribcage, and reduced trauma to the surrounding area.”

For patient James Fuller of Straffordville, Ontario, the surgery and recovery from this innovative surgery has been far easier and less painful than he could have anticipated. “I have friends who have had the open chest version of this surgery, and my experience has been so different than theirs,” says Fuller. “There is no comparison in the level of pain or in the amount of time it took me to recover and get back to my normal activities.”

“Any day we can create a better, safer and easier experience for our patients, is a good day,” says Dr. Kiaii. “This new alternative approach of replacing a calcified aortic valve with robotic assistance helps the surgeon perform the surgery minimally invasively and allows the patients to recover faster, heal without the same risk of complications, and be home with their families sooner.”

For Fuller, the change in his quality of life is like night and day. “My condition had really been impacting my ability to keep up with my normal pace – I was short of breath just walking a few steps. Now, I feel like I can do anything I want, and I just keep feeling better every week. I’ve always maintained an active lifestyle, and thanks to this surgery, I’ve been able to resume that.”