Image-guided magnetic catheter navigation brings robotics to the cath lab

Washington 24 September 2002At the Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) Conference, September 24-28, 2002, Siemens Medical Solutions Inc. has unveiled the first digital imaging system that can work with magnetic navigation systems for interventional medicine. The combination of Siemens' AXIOM Artis dFC Magnetic Navigation Imaging System and Stereotaxis' Magnetic Navigation Systems is expected to be uniquely capable of helping cardiologists improve the ease and accuracy of catheter-based procedures.


A planned fully integrated, image-guided, computerised, magnetic navigation and control system is the result of Siemens' exclusive partnership with Stereotaxis Inc., aimed at addressing problems associated with manual catheter steering and positioning.

"Cardiac catheterisation procedures are up more than 50 percent in the past eight years", stated Christos Kantemeridis, Artis dFC Magnetic Navigation product manager, Siemens Medical Solutions. "Cardiologists need solutions which are less invasive, easier to control and ultimately, more effective. Catheter-based procedures performed manually today can be very difficult and lengthy. This new method is designed to improve the efficiency and work flow of the cath lab and enable new cardiac applications."

Siemens combines its most advanced digital fluoroscopic imaging system, the AXIOM Artis dFC Magnetic Navigation, the Flat Panel Detector System, with Stereotaxis' magnetic navigation technology. The result is a system designed to remotely direct and digitally control catheter-based devices along complex paths within the body. The magnetic-tipped catheter device is controlled by magnets external to the body. This approach allows for 360-degree rotation of the catheter and is anticipated to provide greater precision and better movement than manual methods.

"I am confident that magnetic navigation during interventional cardiology procedures will prove extremely helpful, especially in tortuous anatomy and chronic total occlusions", stated Gary L. Schaer, M.D. Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, on his experience with magnetic navigation.

The expectations are to integrate advanced fluoroscopic technology with remote catheter control, allowing the clinicians to better leverage the imaging information to ensure the catheter is positioned properly, without trial and error. The system fits into a standard cath lab room, and is designed to allow clinicians to perform the majority of the procedures remotely from the control room using a joystick. This addresses long-term radiation exposure concerns of clinicians working day-to-day in the cath lab.

Magnetic navigation has been undergoing clinical trials at various sites in the United States, including Washington University's Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Rush Presbyterian Hospital Chicago, and at the University of Oklahoma.

"I think that in the future what we are going to see is robotic-type devices in interventional cardiology", stated Patrick Serruys, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Cardiology at the Thorax Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. "I think that, like the neurosurgeon and the surgeon, the interventional cardiologist will be performing procedures using robotics."

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG, with headquarters in Erlangen, Germany, is one of the largest suppliers to the health care industry in the world. The company is renowned for its innovative products, including imaging systems for diagnosis, therapy equipment for treatment, hearing instruments, and critical care and life support systems, as well as a wide array of information technology and data management solutions that optimise work flow and increase efficiency in hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices.

The company is known as the premier health information application service provider processing more than 133 million transactions daily and managing more than 67 terabytes of data, twice the information volume of the Library of Congress. Employing approximately 30.000 people worldwide, the company reported sales of 7,2 billion EUR, orders of 8,4 billion EUR and EBITA of 808 million EUR in fiscal year 2001, which ended September 30.

Leslie Versweyveld

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