Apollo Hospitals launch robot for stroke treatment

Apollo Hospitals launch robot for stroke treatmentHyderabad, Oct 29 - Apollo Hospitals, India's biggest corporate hospital chain, Saturday launched "stroke Robot" which enables real-time quality care to stroke patients in areas far away from major cities.

The RP-7 remote presence Robot is a mobile robotic platform that enables the physician to remotely monitor and guide the treatment of stroke.

Apollo Group of Hospitals chairman Prathap C. Reddy told reporters that it is the first and only US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared remote presence device. It is also claimed to be the first such technology made available in India by the US.

RP-7 leverages wireless, internet and robotic technology which enables a physician to "e-reach" immediately to the patient's bedside in remote location to render care.

The first unit with command and control system, costing Rs. 15 million, has been installed at Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad.

The group plans to have one system each at seven of its hospitals with a neurology department in the country over the next one year. "We plan to connect five to six hospitals around every centre," Reddy said.

The hospital will charge Rs. 10,000 in excess for providing services through this new technology.

The hospital authorities also made a live demonstration of the technology with a neurologist in China monitoring and guiding the treatment of a patient at Apollo, Hyderabad.

Doctors said as the first 4.5 hours after the stroke are considered crucial for treatment and 60 to 70 percent patients don't reach the hospital even in 48 hours, the robotic technology will be of immense help in reaching care to the patient immediately.

Noting that India with a population of 1.2 billion has only 800 neurophysicians, they said RP-7 enables access to scarce expertise.

According to doctors, one in six people get a stroke in their lifetime. A million people die in India every year due to stroke. India ranks second in the world after China in the number of deaths caused by strokes.

Oct 29 is observed as World Stroke Day to underscore the serious nature and high rates of stroke, raise awareness of the prevention and treatment of the condition, and ensure better care and support for survivors. The annual event was started in 2006 by the World Stroke Organization (WSO). (IANS)