Morbid Obesity Does not Increase Morbidity or Mortality in Robotic Cardiac Surgery

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Morbid obesity (body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2) usually confers a higher perioperative risk in cardiac surgery. Robotic cardiac surgery may have many advantages for these high-risk patients.


We retrospectively reviewed patients undergoing robotic cardiac surgery from July 2013 to April 2017 at our institution. We compared the outcomes of morbidly obese patients versus nonobese patients.


A total of 486 patients underwent robotic cardiac surgery (322 men, median age = 65 years). The robotic procedures were the following: totally endoscopic beating heart coronary artery bypass (n = 263), mitral valve surgery (n = 138), arrhythmia surgery (n = 33), adult congenital surgery (n = 16), pericardiectomy (n = 11), and others (n = 25). The cohorts were divided into the following: normal weight (body mass index < 25, n = 123), overweight (body mass index = 25 to < 30, n = 182), obesity (body mass index = 30 to < 35, n = 105), and morbid obesity (body mass index ≥ 35, n = 76). Morbidly obese patients had a higher rate of hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes mellitus compared with normal or overweight patients. There were no significant differences in morbidity, mean length of intensive care unit stay (2.10 ± 4.27 days), and hospital stay (4.48 ± 5.61 days) among the groups. In-hospital mortality was 1.4% (7/486) with nonsignificant difference.


Outcomes of robotic heart surgery in morbidly obese patients in our center were acceptable. Over a broad range of cardiac surgical procedures, morbid obesity was not associated with increased morbidity or mortality when these procedures were performed using a robotic approach. These findings can be beneficial in managing this challenging group of patients.

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