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A new surgical robot can guide surgeons' tools straight to the heart by itself - like a self-driving car inside the body.
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have developed an autonomous catheter that steers itself through the body to sidestep potential navigation errors by surgeons.
Kind - Invention - Targets - Series - Tests
The first-of-its kind invention successfully reached its targets in a series of tests on pigs.
For now, scientists are only looking at the autonomous tech for navigation, but some hope surgeries themselves could be done entirely by robots.
Food - Drug - Administration - Surgeries - Ones
But the Food and Drug Administration has warned that some robotic surgeries may be less effective than manual ones - and the public is not yet ready to trust an autonomous machine on the road, so letting one in the body might scare some.
In March 2018, one of Uber's self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.
Robot - Surgeries - Deaths - US
And robot surgeries have been linked to at least 144 deaths in the US.
But the Boston Children's team thinks that robots like their will one day eliminate disparities in who gets the best surgeons and who has a less experienced doctor performing their operation.
'This - Playing - Field - Study - Author
'This would not only level the playing field, it would raise it,' said senior study author and bioengineer Dr Pierre Dupont.
'Every clinician in the world would be operating at a level of skill and experience equivalent to the best in their field.
'This - Promise - Robots - Autonomy - There
'This has always been the promise of medical robots. Autonomy may be what gets us there.'
In fairness, although have made fatal mistakes in surgeries, surgeons have made far more.
JAMA - Network - Open - Study - Errors
Based on a JAMA Network Open study on medical errors, about 77,870 deaths between 1990 and 2016 were caused by errors related to surgery (surgical or perioperative).
Dr Dupont and his lab...
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