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Accurate Guidance of a Catheter by Ultrasound Imaging and Identification of a Catheter Tip by Pulsed-Wave Doppler


Marek Belohlavek, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, 13400 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259. Fax: 480-301-9162; e-mail:


Background:With the advent of numerous minimally invasive medical procedures, accurate catheter guidance has become imperative. We introduce and test an approach for catheter guidance by ultrasound imaging and pulsed-wave (PW) Doppler.

Methods:A steerable catheter is fitted with a small piezoelectric crystal at its tip that actively transmits signals driven by a function generator. We call this an active-tip (AT) catheter. In a water tank, we immersed a “target” crystal and a rectangular matrix of four “reference” crystals. Two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound imaging was used for initial guidance and visualization of the catheter shaft, and then PW Doppler mode was used to identify the AT catheter tip and guide it to the simulated target that was also visible in the 2D ultrasound image. Ten guiding trials were performed from random initial positions of the AT catheter, each starting at approximately 8 cm from the target.

Results:After the ten navigational trials, the average final distance of the catheter tip from the target was 2.4 ± 1.2 mm, and the range of distances from the trials was from a minimum of 1.0 mm to a maximum of 4.5 mm.

Conclusions:Although early in the development process, these quantitative in vitro results show promise for catheter guidance with ultrasound imaging and tip identification by PW Doppler. (PACE 2012; 35:44–50)