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In poorly constrained extra-vascular environments such as hollow viscera, current catheter navigation techniques are restricted to simple paths and therefore limit a doctor's ability to position the catheter. This paper presents a new catheter positioning system that enables faster and more accurate catheter placement, with fewer scans. The proposed robotic catheter navigation system can execute curved paths and maintain any number of three-dimensional turns using tension stiffening guide-wires composed of a set of disposable friction-locking beads. An external, reusable control system is used to automate the movement of the catheter. This control system uses a custom-designed graphical kinematic analysis program that predicts contact forces, changes in conformation due to external forces, tip deflection and failure modes of the catheter as it advances.
Date of Conference: 3-7 May 2010