Researchers at ETH Zurich and École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed the thinnest ever steerable cardiac ablation catheter. The device has a magnetic tip, which can be navigated using an external magnetic field with incredible accuracy via a computer.
Existing guiding catheters are typically steered by a pull wire within the lumen, but the new device doesn’t have a pull wire and therefore can be made much thinner and more flexible.
In addition to its thinness and flexibility, the new catheter can change its stiffness thanks to a special alloy within three sections of the catheter. Running a low current through a copper wire within the catheter heats up the alloy sections, making them softer temporarily and relaxing the catheter.
While similar devices have been in existence, the new catheter should be able to navigate through vasculature that would otherwise be too challenging. Additionally, the technology doesn’t require the clinicians to be near the fluoroscope, sparing them from being exposed to X-rays.
Here are a couple videos from ETH Zurich about the new technology:
Study presented at IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems: A variable stiffness catheter controlled with an external magnetic field…
Via: ETH Zurich…