The MRI-Guided Co-Robotic Active Catheter is a co-robotic active catheter system for performing atrial fibrillation ablation under real-time intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. This can be achieved by purposefully ablating (destroying) specific areas of the heart in a controlled fashion, the propagation of irregular heart activity can be prevented. This is generally achieved by threading a catheter with an electrode at its tip through a vein in the groin until it reaches the patient’s heart. However, the constant movement of the heart, as well as unpredictable changes in blood flow can make it difficult to maintain consistent contact with the heart during the ablation procedure, occasionally resulting in too large or too small of a lesion.
The aim is to develop a co-robotic catheter that compensates for physiological movements of the heart and blood and that can be used while a patient undergoes MRI. By combining state-of-the-art robotics with high-resolution, real-time imaging, the co-robotic catheter could significantly increase the accuracy and repeatability of atrial fibrillation ablation procedures.
The proposed research will synergistically integrate high-speed MRI technologies with robotic motion planning and control techniques to develop a novel co-robotic system. Specifically, the research will focus on i) development of new models, algorithms, and open source software for robotic motion planning and control of active catheter systems, ii) development of algorithms for achieving real-time intra-operative MRI acquisition and image reconstruction, and, iii) hardware realization and experimental validation of the developed technologies in benchtop and in vivo studies in collaboration with clinical partners.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering) are the developers.