KTTU "In Focus," 11/6/11, 10:30 AM & KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," 11/13/11, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Molly Szerlip, MD, cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine, U of A Dept. of Medicine. In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack.  

Dr. Szerlip says the signs and symptoms associated with coronary disease are angina or chest pain, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat.   She says conventional heart bypass surgery requires a surgeon to create a long incision through the front of the chest, split the breast bone and spread the ribs to expose the heart.  She says minimally invasive, robot-assisted, closed-chest-bypass surgery is a revolutionary new procedure that allows a surgeon to perform the operation through very small incisions instead of opening a patient’s chest to expose the heart.  

Dr. Szerlip says she and her colleague, Dr. Robert Poston, use a hybrid approach to treatment that combines both stenting and robotic bypass surgery.  She says the internal mammary artery is grafted instead of a leg vein. She says the advantage of using internal mammary arteries is there is less risk of narrowing than vein grafts.  She says that procedure is followed by stenting the remaining diseased un-bypassed artery.  By combining both approaches, she said the robotic, less-invasive surgery can be used on patients who would otherwise have required traditional open chest surgery.  

Dr. Szerlip says for the patient the result is less pain and bleeding, shorter hospital stays, quicker recoveries and faster returns to daily and professional activities.