Electromagnetic tracking and steering for catheter navigation
University College Cork
This thesis explores the use of electromagnetics for both steering and tracking of medical instruments in minimally invasive surgeries. The end application is virtual navigation of the lung for biopsy of early stage cancer nodules. Navigation to the peripheral regions of the lung is difficult due to physical dimensions of the bronchi and current methods have low successes rates for accurate diagnosis. Firstly, the potential use of DC magnetic fields for the actuation of catheter devices with permanently magnetised distal attachments is investigated. Catheter models formed from various materials and magnetic tip formations are used to examine the usefulness of relatively low power and compact electromagnets. The force and torque that can be exerted on a small permanent magnet is shown to be extremely limited. Hence, after this initial investigation we turn our attention to electromagnetic tracking, in the development of a novel, low-cost implementation of a GPS-like system for navigating within a patient. A planar magnetic transmitter, formed on a printed circuit board for a low-profile and low cost manufacture, is used to generate a low frequency magnetic field distribution which is detected by a small induction coil sensor. The field transmitter is controlled by a novel closed-loop system that ensures a highly stable magnetic field with reduced interference from one transmitter coil to another. Efficient demodulation schemes are presented which utilise synchronous detection of each magnetic field component experienced by the sensor. The overall tracking accuracy of the system is shown to be less than 2 mm with an orientation error less than 1°. A novel demodulation implementation using a unique undersampling approach allows the use of reduced sample rates to sample the signals of interest without loss of tracking accuracy. This is advantageous for embedded microcontroller implementations of EM tracking systems. The EM tracking system is demonstrated in the pre-clinical environment of a breathing lung phantom. The airways of the phantom are successfully navigated using the system in combination with a 3D computer model rendered from CT data. Registration is achieved using both a landmark rigid registration method and a hybrid fiducial-free approach. The design of a planar magnetic shield structure for blocking the effects of metallic distortion from below the transmitter is presented which successfully blocks the impact of large ferromagnetic objects such as operating tables. A variety of shielding material are analysed with MuMetal and ferrite both providing excellent shieling performance and an increased signal to noise ratio. Finally, the effect of conductive materials and human tissue on magnetic field measurements is presented. Error due to induced eddy currents and capacitive coupling is shown to severely affect EM tracking accuracy at higher frequencies.
Electromagnetic tracking , Catheter navigation , Magnetic steering
O'Donoghue, K. 2014. Electromagnetic tracking and steering for catheter navigation. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.