(a) Schematic diagram of intended stent-graft for treatment of an abdominal aortic aneurysm; (b) surgeons test a new visualization tool for catheter guidance.
Surface mesh of an abdominal aortic aneurysm extruded radially to determine the arterial wall layers.
Modern medicine is irreversibly shifting towards less invasive surgical procedures. Conventional open surgery approaches are systematically being replaced by interventions that reduce access trauma and thereby minimize pain and hospitalization periods for patients. The downside of this approach is that it is highly demanding for the interventionalist, entailing unacceptable risks for the patient. In the perspective of patient safety, the project SCATh, i.e. a STREP project funded within the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission, aims at minimizing these drawbacks specifically for a series of new and promising catheterization procedures. These procedures have the common denominator of dealing with cardiovascular disease, the main cause of death in the EU.
SCATh provides the interventionalist with visual and haptic tools for robust and accurate catheter guidance, which is developed through novel approaches, by fusing preoperative patient-specific anatomical and mechanical models and intra-operative data streams from in situ sensors. By complementing and augmenting the skills of the interventionalist, patient safety drastically increases and at the same time, potentially life-threatening complications, which result from poor or damaging (X-ray, use of contrast agents) visualization or poor surgical technique, can be avoided. The new concept for tracking, sensing, modeling and manipulation of the surgical environment is integrated with existing technological state-of-the-art in close cooperation with clinical experts and industrial partners, both in the design and in the evaluation phases.
The common efforts delivered during this project result in a demonstrator applied to a carefully selected set of catheter procedures. Moreover, many of the technological advances created during SCATh touch upon minimally invasive surgical procedures in general.
Funding: European Union