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Docs carry out world's first heart surgery 'using radiation'

tech reviews Updated: Nov 03, 2009 15:58 IST

In what's claimed to be a surgical feat, British doctors have carried out the world's first heart operation using radiation technology.

A team at Harley Street Clinic in London successfully conducted the revolutionary operation on a 67-year-old Briton, which involved highly focused radiation as a "scalpel" to cut away the tumour inside the right chamber of his heart.

The treatment is the first time the radiation scalpel, called the "Cyberknife", has been used in heart operation, and the doctors are confident that it could lead to new treatments for other heart conditions, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

During the operation, radiation beams controlled by a robot with an accuracy of one millimetre arm attacked the tumour of Michael Kilby. It took account of breathing patterns and body movements to avoid the patient's healthy tissue.

Dr John Coltart, consultant cardiologist at the Clinic said: "Three months ago his prognosis was terrible, now he may live for a good while yet. No one had ever done this before, it was a bit of innovative thinking to give this gentleman a chance. All our expectations have been realised."

According to Dr Coltart, tumours inside the heart are extremely rare and it seems the Cyberknife may now be the preferable way to treat them because the radiation can be targeted to such a degree that there is minimal damage to the heart muscle.