The SCATh Project
Modern medicine is irreversibly shifting towards less invasive surgical procedures. Conventional open surgery approaches are systematically being replaced by interventions that reduce access trauma and thereby minimise pain and hospitalisation periods for patients. The downside of this approach is that it is highly demanding for the interventionalist, entailing unacceptable risks for the patient. In the perspective of patient safety, SCATh aims at minimizing these drawbacks specifically for a series of new and promising catheterization procedures. These procedures have the common denominator of dealing with cardiovascular disease, the main cause of death in the EU. SCATh will provide the interventionalist with visual and haptic tools for robust and accurate catheter guidance, which will be developed through novel approaches, by fusing preoperative patient-specific anatomical and mechanical models and intra-operative data streams from in situ sensors. By complementing and augmenting the skills of the interventionalist, patient safety will drastically increase and at the same time, potentially life-threatening complications which result from poor or damaging (x-ray, use of contrast agents) visualisation or poor surgical technique can be avoided. The new concept for tracking, sensing, modelling and manipulation of the surgical environment will be integrated with existing technological state-of-the-art in close cooperation with clinical experts and industrial partners, both in the design and in the evaluation phases. The common efforts delivered during this project will result in a demonstrator applied to a carefully selected set of catheter procedures. Moreover, many of the technological advancements created during SCATh touch upon minimally invasive surgical procedures in general.