Among the multiple medical simulation projects, set up at the Institute of Systems Science in Singapore, researchers have also developed an interactive simulator for visual navigation of a catheter insertion. A varied choice of patient models, lesions and interventional tools is provided to enhance the realistic impact of the performance. The 'da Vinci' project will support surgeons in their training efforts and their pre-operative planning, as well as designers in the building of appropriate devices for medical use.
The system is based on physical and anatomical modelling and incorporates both computed human vascular data sets as well as radiographs and gross anatomical images derived from the Visible Human Project of the National Library of Medicine. The trainees insert the catheters through the simulated blood vessels which are registered with anatomical and fluoroscopic image data sets. Both hands-on real time 2-D and simultaneous 3-D navigation are carefully being executed.
A hand-activated electro-mechanical catheter device facilitates tracking while a 3-D geometric and topological representation offers useful help with regard to the positioning of the catheter in relation with the surrounding radiographic and anatomical structures. The user is able to manipulate the various parameters of the image presentation by changing the zoom features, the image contrast control and the patient table movement in the X, Y and rotational axis.
The catheter itself can be moved forward and backward but can also be rotated. The passage of the catheter can be followed through the transparent vasculature or the outlined vessels. In a split screen presentation, contrast medium injections and road mappings can be introduced to procure even better orientation. The 'da Vinci' simulator offers the opportunity to view the catheter and vessels in 3-D and to rotate the 3-D image in the X, Y and Z axis for refined estimation of the catheter tip's position with regard to the vascular anatomy.
Multiplanar computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging as well as gross anatomical colour images of the body can be integrated to relate with the catheter tip position in the exact region where the simulation is being performed. Thus, the 'da Vinci' simulator constitutes a powerful tool for the realistic assessment of catheterisations. If you are interested in more news about the Medical Imaging Program at the Institute of Systems Science in Singapore, please check in at the Medical Simutation Group's web site.