A new "game-changing" robotics technology has been used during heart surgery at University Hospital Galway.

It is the first of its kind to take place in Ireland and the UK.

Dr Faisal Sharif said the procedure enables surgeons to use the robot as an extension of their own arm during stent placement procedures to clear blockages in the arteries.

"It is a very safe and precise procedure which allows interventional cardiologists move the stent up to one millimetre at a time," said Dr Sharif.

Dr Simone Fezzi, Prof Faisal Sharif and Dr Max Wagener

"The robotics can do what was traditionally performed by the cardiac team.

"The benefits of this technology for staff means they are less exposed to radiation in the cath lab. It means a reduction in the need for staff to wear lead aprons.

"Robotic innovation has come a long way in the last decade. And we in Galway are delighted to have performed the first Robotic Guided Coronary Intervention in Ireland and the UK."

University Hospital Galway's General Manager Chris Kane said the new technology is "transforming medicine and will have a significant impact on the future care for patients.

"This state-of-the-art robotics will enhance patient care for our patients across the West and Northwest of Ireland."