Fixing the Beating Heart: Ultrasound Guidance for Robotic Intracardiac Surgery
Robert D. Howe
of Engineering and Applied Sciences Harvard School
Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305 )
Talk 3:30 pm
To treat defects within the heart, surgeons currently use stopped-heart techniques. These procedures are highly invasive and incur a significant risk of neurological impairment. We are developing methods for performing surgery within the heart while it is beating. New real-time 3-D ultrasound imaging allows visualization through the opaque blood pool, but this imaging modality poses difficult image processing challenges due to poor resolution, acoustic artifacts, and data rates of 30 to 40 million voxels per second. To track instruments within the heart we have developed a Radon transform-based algorithm. Implementation using a graphics processor unit (GPU) enables real-time processing of the ultrasound data stream. For manipulation of rapidly moving cardiac tissue we have created a fast robotic device that can track the tissue based on ultrasound image features. This allows the surgeon to interact with the heart as if it was stationary. Our in vitro studies show that this approach enhances dexterity and lowers applied forces. To complete integration of ultrasound imaging with the robotic device we have developed a predictive controller that compensates for the imaging and image processing delays to ensure good tracking performance. We will present applications of this technology in atrial septal defect closure and mitral valve annuloplasty procedures, demonstrating the potential for improved patient outcomes.
Robert D. Howe is Gordon McKay Professor of Engineering in the
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Dr. Howe founded the
Harvard BioRobotics Laboratory in 1990, which investigates the roles of sensing
and mechanical design in motor control, in both humans and robots. His research
interests focus on manipulation, the sense of touch, and human-machine
interfaces. Biomedical applications of this work include the development of
robotic and image-guided approaches to minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Dr. Howe earned a bachelors degree in physics from
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