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Magnetically Controlled Guidewire Robot System for Vascular Interventional Surgery Reduces Radiation Exposure

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 13 Sep 2023

Vascular interventional surgery is a specialized medical procedure that uses medical imaging, guidewires, catheters, and other tools to diagnose and treat vascular issues. While effective, this kind of surgery exposes physicians to radiation as they need to keep an eye on the guidewire's position under contrast. To address this challenge, scientists have now designed a Magnetically Controlled Guidewire Robot System (MCGRS) that is equipped with magnetically active steering and autonomous propulsion capabilities.

Researchers from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing, China) have built a new system that allows physicians to control the guidewire remotely, making it easier to navigate through complex vascular networks and reducing their exposure to radiation. To achieve this, the researchers fixed a piece of magnetic hydrogel material at the tip of the guidewire, allowing it to be maneuvered under the influence of an external magnetic field. The position of the guidewire is confirmed through an imaging mechanism.

Image: Schematic diagram of interventional surgery and the proposed magnetically controlled guidewire robot system (Photo courtesy of SIAT)
Image: Schematic diagram of interventional surgery and the proposed magnetically controlled guidewire robot system (Photo courtesy of SIAT)

To make this system effective, the researchers utilized a combination of the dipole model and the Cosserat-rod model to create a continuum mechanics model. This model can predict the bending of the guidewire tip. In addition, a trajectory planning algorithm was developed to determine the movement and speed of the external magnet based on the path of the blood vessels, enabling autonomous control. The system's capabilities were validated through experiments which confirmed that it could anticipate and adjust for the guidewire tip's nonlinear movements.

During tests, physicians were able to remotely guide the magnetic guidewire to its intended destination through a vascular phantom model's right internal carotid artery. They achieved this while standing outside the operating room, guided in real-time by digital subtraction angiography images. The procedure was completed in approximately two minutes. Moving forward, the team plans to enhance the smart controls of the MCGRS to further aid physicians in conducting these specialized surgical procedures more effectively and safely.

"We realized autonomous control of the magnetic guidewire,” said Prof. Xu Tiantian from SIAT. “It was controlled by a magnetic field to reach the four target locations of the middle cerebral artery from the puncture point through four different paths in a 3D vascular phantom according to the known vascular paths, and the arrival time was less than two minutes."

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Chinese Academy of Sciences 

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