13 January 2010
By Seethalakshmi S
After Brain & Lungs, CyberKnife Does Another 1st
In a breakthrough in cardiac care, Bangalore–based HCG Hospitals has successfully removed a tumour in the left ventricle of the heart through CyberKnife, a bloodless and painless surgery performed by a robotic system that uses artificial intelligence.
Said to be a first in the world, the treatment was done on a 29–year–old techie whose tongue cancer spread to the neck and then the heart. Hitherto, CyberKnife has been used to treat tumour of the brain, lungs, liver, prostate and spine without causing damage to other organs.
“Three weeks ago, when we noticed lesions on the left ventricle, we knew the cancer was spreading. Surgery would have been a huge risk. For us, it was a challenge. By using the PET scan and spinal tracking system, we zeroed in on the tumour and destroyed it. During the procedure, we used medication to slow down the heart,” hospital chairman and radiation oncologist Dr B S Ajaikumar told TOI.
The 5–day procedure was completed a few weeks ago. Five fractions of CyberKnife were given to heart lesions and three fractions to adrenal lesions in the same session. “Since it was the first time in the world that CyberKnife was used on the left ventricle, we took a second opinion from Stanford University. We knew CyberKnife could one day be used to correct abnormal heart rhythms, replacing the current invasive surgery with painless laser zaps,” he added.
What Was The Condition?
- 29–year–old patient diagnosed with carcinoma of tongue in May 2007.
- Doctors performed an operation and followed it up with radiation.
- Patient didn’t have any symptoms till April when he noticed a swelling on the left side of his chest.
- Doctors found cancer was spreading.
- PET scan in December showed metastasis in the left ventricular apex and left adrenals; confirmed in MRI.
- CyberKnife is the first and only robotic radiosurgery system to treat tumours located anywhere in the body
- Uses skeletal structure of the body, rather than invasive metal frames and skull pins to identify treatment
- It not only tells the robot where the tumour is but where it is in relation to the breathing cycle; therobot breathes with the patient