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Soft robotic steerable microcatheter for the endovascular treatment of cerebral disorders.

  • Author(s): Gopesh, Tilvawala;
  • Wen, Jessica H;
  • Santiago-Dieppa, David;
  • Yan, Bernard;
  • Pannell, J Scott;
  • Khalessi, Alexander;
  • Norbash, Alexander;
  • Friend, James
  • et al.

Catheters used for endovascular navigation in interventional procedures lack dexterity at the distal tip. Neurointerventionists, in particular, encounter challenges in up to 25% of aneurysm cases largely due to the inability to steer and navigate the tip of the microcatheters through tortuous vasculature to access aneurysms. We overcome this problem with submillimeter diameter, hydraulically actuated hyperelastic polymer devices at the distal tip of microcatheters to enable active steerability. Controlled by hand, the devices offer complete 3D orientation of the tip. Using saline as a working fluid, we demonstrate guidewire-free navigation, access, and coil deployment in vivo, offering safety, ease of use, and design flexibility absent in other approaches to endovascular intervention. We demonstrate the ability of our device to navigate through vessels and to deliver embolization coils to the cerebral vessels in a live porcine model. This indicates the potential for microhydraulic soft robotics to solve difficult access and treatment problems in endovascular intervention.

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