Flexible robotics with electromagnetic tracking improves safety and efficiency during in vitro endovascular navigation

Adeline Schwein, Ben Kramer, Ponraj Chinnadurai, Sean Walker, Marcia O'Malley, Alan Lumsden, Jean Bismuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective One limitation of the use of robotic catheters is the lack of real-time three-dimensional (3D) localization and position updating: they are still navigated based on two-dimensional (2D) X-ray fluoroscopic projection images. Our goal was to evaluate whether incorporating an electromagnetic (EM) sensor on a robotic catheter tip could improve endovascular navigation. Methods Six users were tasked to navigate using a robotic catheter with incorporated EM sensors in an aortic aneurysm phantom. All users cannulated two anatomic targets (left renal artery and posterior “gate”) using four visualization modes: (1) standard fluoroscopy mode (control), (2) 2D fluoroscopy mode showing real-time virtual catheter orientation from EM tracking, (3) 3D model of the phantom with anteroposterior and endoluminal view, and (4) 3D model with anteroposterior and lateral view. Standard X-ray fluoroscopy was always available. Cannulation and fluoroscopy times were noted for every mode. 3D positions of the EM tip sensor were recorded at 4 Hz to establish kinematic metrics. Results The EM sensor-incorporated catheter navigated as expected according to all users. The success rate for cannulation was 100%. For the posterior gate target, mean cannulation times in minutes:seconds were 8:12, 4:19, 4:29, and 3:09, respectively, for modes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (P = .013), and mean fluoroscopy times were 274, 20, 29, and 2 seconds, respectively (P = .001). 3D path lengths, spectral arc length, root mean dimensionless jerk, and number of submovements were significantly improved when EM tracking was used (P < .05), showing higher quality of catheter movement with EM navigation. Conclusions The EM tracked robotic catheter allowed better real-time 3D orientation, facilitating navigation, with a reduction in cannulation and fluoroscopy times and improvement of motion consistency and efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-537
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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