Three-Degree-of-Freedom MR-Compatible Multisegment Cardiac Catheter Steering Mechanism

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This paper presents a novel MR-compatible 3-DOF cardiac catheter steering mechanism. The catheter's steerable structure is tendon driven and consists of miniature deflectable, helical segments created by a precise rapid prototyping technique. The created catheter prototype has an outer diameter of 9 Fr (3 mm) and a steerable distal end that can be deflected in 3D space via four braided high-tensile Spectra® fiber tendons. Any longitudinal twist commonly observed in helical structures is compensated for by employing clockwise (CW) and counter clockwise (CCW) helical segments in an alternating fashion. A 280 μm flexible carbon fiber rod is used as a backbone in a central channel to improve the structure's steering and positioning repeatability. In addition to the backbone, a carbon fiber tube can be inserted into the structure to a varying amount capable of changing the structure's forcibility and, thus, providing a means to change the curvature and to modify the deflectable length of the catheter leading to an extension of reachable points in the catheter-tip workspace. A unique feature of this helical segment structure is that the stiffness can be further adjusted by appropriately tensioning tendons simultaneously. An experimental study has been conducted examining the catheter-tip trajectory in 3D space and its positioning repeatability using a 5-DOF magnetic coil tracking system. Furthermore, MRI experiments in a 1.5 Tesla scanner confirmed the MR-compatibility of the catheter prototype. The study shows that the proposed concept for catheter steering has great potential to be employed for robotically steered and MRguided cardiac catheterization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2425 - 2435
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
Early online date6 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


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