From Heart Disease to Hearts-at-Ease with Robotic Assisted Surgery
Michael Walo was on vacation when he had difficulty breathing. He was admitted to the hospital, where he received unsettling news that he needed heart surgery.
“One of the valves in my heart wasn’t working properly. I thought my only option was traditional surgery where my doctor would cut through my chest, leaving a large scar,” recalls Michael, a retired Boeing executive. Fortunately, there was another option.
Daniel Bethencourt, M.D., medical director of cardiac surgery at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Memorial and Long Beach Memorial, used state-of-the-art, robotic assisted surgery to repair Michael’s mitral valve, a flap that controls blood flow within the heart.
“This advanced technology allows us to perform difficult cardiac procedures with greater precision and control. The end result is less pain, minimal scarring and faster recovery times for patients,” says Dr. Bethencourt of the robotic treatment, which is a component of Orange Coast Memorial’s comprehensive and advanced cardiac care program.
Within 24 hours, Michael was walking unassisted in his room. Within 48 hours, he was home from the hospital. “I couldn’t believe it. I had to consciously stop myself from doing too much too soon. I felt that good,” says Michael.