Purpose—In previous studies we developed two mechanical prototypes of steerable catheters: the Sigma, which uses joysticks to actuate two steerable tip segments, and the Epsilon, which has a handle that is an enlarged version of the tip. In this study, we present a first performance evaluation of the prototypes in the cardiac environment. The evaluation was carried out by an expert user, an electrophysiologist with over 20 years of experience, to obtain insight in clinically relevant factors. Methods—Two experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, the Sigma was used in a passive beating heart setup connected to pumps with a saline solution and camera visualization, and compared with the expert’s past experience with conventional steerable catheters. In the second experiment, the Sigma was used in an active beating heart setup with blood perfusion through the coronary arteries and echo visualization, and compared with the Epsilon prototype. The prototype was evaluated through questionnaires on task performance, catheter usability, and workload. After each of the experiments, the catheter characteristics were evaluated via a survey and followed by an in-depth interview. Results & Conclusions—The expert user found the passive beating heart setup to more successful than the active beating heart setup for the purpose of this experiment, with insightful visualization while the heart was in beating condition. The steerability of the prototypes was experienced as useful and clinically relevant. Based on the questionnaires and interview we were able to identify future design improvements and developments for the steerable catheter prototypes.

Expert opinion, Evaluation, Steerable catheter, Beating heart, Catheter design.
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13239-020-00499-3, hdl.handle.net/1765/133578
Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology
Department of Cardiology

Ali, A, Szili-Török, T, Stijnen, M., Breedveld, P, & Dodou, D. (2020). First Expert Evaluation of a New Steerable Catheter in an Isolated Beating Heart. Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology, 11(6), 769–782. doi:10.1007/s13239-020-00499-3