Algorithms for Automated Pointing of Cardiac Imaging Catheters

  • Paul M. Loschak
  • Laura J. Brattain
  • Robert D. Howe
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8899)


This paper presents a modified controller and expanded algorithms for automatically positioning cardiac ultrasound imaging catheters within the heart to improve treatment of cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. Presented here are a new method for controlling the position and orientation of a catheter, smoother and more accurate automated catheter motion, and initial results of image processing into clinically useful displays. Ultrasound imaging (intracardiac echo, or ICE) catheters are steered by four actuated degrees of freedom (DOF) to produce bi-directional bending in combination with handle rotation and translation. Closed form solutions for forward and inverse kinematics enable position control of the catheter tip. Additional kinematic calculations enable 1-DOF angular control of the imaging plane. The combination of positioning with imager rotation enables a wide range of visualization capabilities, such as recording a sequence of ultrasound images and reconstructing them into 3D or 4D volumes for diagnosis and treatment. The algorithms were validated with a robotic test bed and the resulting images were reconstructed into 3D volumes. This capability may improve the efficiency and effectiveness of intracardiac catheter interventions by allowing visualization of soft tissues or working instruments. The methods described here are applicable to any long thin tendon-driven tool (with single or bi-directional bending) requiring accurate tip position and orientation control.


Robot-assisted procedures Interventional therapy Image-guided procedures 



Harvard University work is supported by the US National Institutes of Health under grant NIH R01 HL073647. MIT Lincoln Laboratory work is sponsored by the Department of the Air Force under Air Force contract #FA8721-05-C-0002. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul M. Loschak
    • 1
  • Laura J. Brattain
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert D. Howe
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard School of Engineering and Applied SciencesCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.MIT Lincoln LaboratoryLexingtonUSA

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