For image-guided procedures, 4-8 sensors, embedded in the distil tip or along the sheath of a catheter, needle, or probe, are instantly localized. Measurements are referenced to one another, or to one or more field generating devices. Fields are non-radiating and unattenuated by the human body. Studies have shown that the use of magnetic tracking in image-guided procedures has the potential of significantly reducing the amount of fluoroscopy employed during a procedure. Measurements are also fully integrated with 3D imaging software for real-time procedural vision.
To date, 3D tracking devices have not been heavily used in the cardiac suite due to environmental issues, such as the amount of metal and electronic noise in the general vicinity of the tracking device. These limitations are overcome with the current generation microBIRD tracker.
According to Jack Scully, Ascension's Vice President of New Business Development, "We now offer medical device manufacturers a whole new generation of magnetic tracking equipment that simplifies use and integration. For example, microBIRD sensors work without loss of accuracy even when inserted into catheters containing intravascular ultrasound arrays. Measurement precision is unaffected by medical grade metals, such as 300-series stainless steel, aluminum and composite materials often contained in procedural trays and tables. Clinical testing is presently underway with a new flat metal-immune transmitter upon which the patient lies. It negates the distorting effects of ferrous metals, such as carbon steel and iron alloys, often contained in patient tables."
Partnering with a number of researchers and device manufacturers, Ascension is developing new applications for guidance and localization of interventional catheters, including the deployment of stents, delivery of therapeutic agents, and 3D visualization of vascular images.
Ascension Technology Corporation, based in Burlington, Vermont, USA, is a global expert in magnetic motion tracking solutions for medical applications. For more information about Ascension trackers, you can visit the Ascension Web site or read the VMW December 2005 article microBIRD now works with Cedara's medical visualization tools.