Inserting Catheters Without X-rays

Mar 09, 2009
This is a rolled-up guide wire. Credit: Fraunhofer IPT

X-rays penetrate the patient's body, helping the doctor guide the catheter through the artery. In future, it will be possible to monitor the position of the catheter without exposing the patient to X-ray radiation, and without the need for a contrast medium.

Have the patient's , heart valves or myocardial muscle changed abnormally? Doctors can verify this and administer the necessary therapy with the help of a , which is inserted into the body through a small incision in the groin area and pushed to the heart through the .

A metal guide wire inside the catheter serves as a navigational aid. It is pulled and turned by the physician to steer and guide the catheter. At the same time the catheter's position in the vascular system has to be monitored. This task is performed by X-rays, which penetrate the patient and show exactly where the catheter is. The problem with this method is that it exposes the patient to quite a high dose of radiation. In addition, a has to be injected into the patient's body in order to make the vascular system and the soft tissue visible on the X-ray images.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen have now found a way of avoiding both the radiation and the contrast medium. In collaboration with colleagues at Philips and University Hospital Aachen, they have developed a guide wire made of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic. "Because the guide wire is made of plastic the imaging can be performed by magnetic resonance tomography instead of computer tomography," says IPT scientist Adrian Schütte. "This is not possible with metal as the metal wire acts as an antenna and heats up too much - this would damage the vessels, and could cause proteins to clot." Magnetic resonance tomography has many advantages for doctors and patients. It does not produce like computer tomography, and soft tissue is clearly visible, so there is no need for a contrast medium.

For the manufacture of the two-meter guide wires the researchers use the pultrusion method, which is the standard procedure for making continuous profiles from glass-fiber-reinforced plastic. "Diameters of half a millimeter or less are required for the guide wires - that's the absolute minimum," explains Schütte. The new guide wires will be presented at the JEC trade fair in Paris from March 24 to 26 and will be used in hospitals for the first time in the next few months.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Hoverbike drone project for air transport takes off

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breast cancer treatment procedure gives women more options

Nov 29, 2006

A new minimally invasive approach to partial breast irradiation provides another treatment option for women with breast cancer. The researchers presented their findings today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society ...

Tiny 3-D ultrasound probe guides catheter procedures

Aug 28, 2008

An ultrasound probe small enough to ride along at the tip of a catheter can provide physicians with clearer real-time images of soft tissue without the risks associated with conventional x-ray catheter guidance.

First steps toward autonomous robot surgeries

May 06, 2008

The day may be getting a little closer when robots will perform surgery on patients in dangerous situations or in remote locations, such as on the battlefield or in space, with minimal human guidance.

Wiring the Brain at the Nanoscale

Jul 08, 2005

Nanowires in blood vessels may help monitor, stimulate neurons in the brain Working with platinum nanowires 100 times thinner than a human hair--and using blood vessels as conduits to guide the wires--a te ...

Recommended for you

Hoverbike drone project for air transport takes off

7 hours ago

What happens when you cross a helicopter with a motorbike? The crew at Malloy Aeronautics has been focused on a viable answer and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its Hoverbike project, "The ...

Student develops filter for clean water around the world

Jul 23, 2014

Roughly 780 million people around the world have no access to clean drinking water. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases every year. ETH student Jeremy Nussbaumer ...

Minimising drag to maximise results

Jul 23, 2014

One of the most exciting parts of the Tour de France for spectators is the tactical vying for spots in the breakaway group at the front of the pack.

User comments : 0