Grant Application

Edward G. Andrews, MD

Proposed Innovation

Each year, about 800,000 people suffer strokes in the United States and about 150,000 die. The thrombectomy — a groundbreaking technique developed in 2015 — has been effective in removing large blood clots from arteries in the brain to reduce morbidity and mortality in stroke. But 66% of patients arrive at hospitals where this procedure is not offered, putting them at risk of missing the critical 4.5-hour window for treatment after the onset of a stroke.

Getting expert, rapid treatment to stroke patients in remote areas is the goal of this innovative project. Using a telerobotic system, a neurosurgeon in one hospital can safely operate on a patient at another location where that procedure can save a life and preserve brain function.

Improvements in Action

Using a multidisciplinary approach, researchers from UPMC’s Neurosurgery Department, Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information will collaborate with augmented reality teams at HaptX and Medivis in the development of a haptic telerobotic system that transmits realistic touch feedback. HaptX is the developer of virtual reality gloves with haptic feedback and Medivis is a medical technology company harnessing augmented reality and artificial intelligence to advance medical imaging and surgical navigation.

The robotic system developed through this project would be installed at smaller hospitals and remotely guided by a trained neurosurgeon at a larger medical center.

Intended Outcomes

This project will allow surgeons to perform the thrombectomy procedure on more patients during the crucial window of time after stroke onset. Quickly removing blood clots from large blood vessels in the brain will save lives and help more patients avoid lifelong severe disabilities such as paralysis or an inability to swallow food, speak, or understand speech.