To date, electromagnetic tracking has been used primarily outside the medical sector, for example, when determining the positions of a person's head or hands during virtual reality applications or when performing biomechanical analyses. Initial experiments are now being performed to study its use in surgery, for instance in tracking flexible endoscopes in the body. The agreement between Siemens and CAS innovations will drive the development of almost radiation-free catheter navigation and needle placement.
Electromagnetic tracking can support all catheter applications and needle placement procedures. A sensor at the catheter tip measures the electromagnetic field of a transmitter used to calculate the respective catheter tip position and orientation. These co-ordinates are transferred in real time to a computer, where the catheter is displayed and compared to a previously recorded 3D image of the intervention site. This is especially beneficial during long interventions or examinations: the method provides improved spatial orientation and save navigation to the region of interest. In addition it reduces both the radiation dose and amount of contrast agent required.
The Siemens and CAS innovations project comprises two phases: first, the electromagnetic tracking system will be integrated with the angiography system, an appropriate software and user interface will be added, and the precision of the set-up can be demonstrated on phantoms. In phase two, the system will be installed at clinical sites for extensive studies on animals and patients. Long-term co-operation between the companies is planned so that this innovative technology can be made available to physicians and patients.
"Electromagnetic tracking will significantly enhance image-guided interventions comprising 3D visualization; it will become the GPS of medicine, for the benefit of patients and clinical personnel", stated Norbert Gaus, Head of the Angiography and Radiography Systems Division at Siemens Medical Solutions. "Siemens will take the leading role in implementing this method."
"We believe this strategic alliance will help both parties with fast market penetration of the electromagnetic tracking technology", stated Ralf Petzold, Managing Director and CEO of CAS innovations AG. "It complies with CAS's strategy of providing solutions for Computer-Assisted Planning and Positioning Applications."
CAS innovations AG is an Erlangen-located company with about 25 employees providing solutions for navigation in surgery. Based on optical and electromagnetic tracking technology, CAS innovations allows to navigate rigid and flexible devices with great accuracy. Its Computer-Assisted Planning and Positioning Applications (CAPPA) product family is used e.g. within the areas of computer assisted orthopaedic surgery (CAOS) or ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery. CAPPA incorporates pre-operative 3D planning and navigated therapy.
Siemens Medical Solutions is one of the world's largest suppliers to the health care industry. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, health care information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes.
From imaging systems for diagnosis, to therapy equipment for treatment, to patient monitors to hearing instruments and beyond, Siemens innovations contribute to the health and well-being of people across the globe, while improving operational efficiencies and optimizing work flow in hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and doctors' offices. Employing approximately 33.000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7,6 billion euro, orders of 8,6 billion euro and group profit of 1 billion euro for fiscal 2005. More Siemens news can be found in the VMW November 2005 article Ohio State University Medical Center first to install Siemens newest 16-slice CT system.