New Hansen robotic system to boost control during cardiac procedures

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Hansen Medical Inc., a developer of robotic technology for accurate 3D control of catheter movement during cardiac procedures, is showcasing its new Sensei robotic catheter system at the Heart Rhythm Society’s 27th Annual Scientific Sessions, May 17-20, 2006. The new system — which has not yet been FDA cleared — is designed to assist physicians to help place mapping catheters in hard-to-reach anatomical locations within the heart during the diagnostic phase of cardiac arrhythmia treatment.
   
The Sensei system is compatible with fluoroscopy, ultrasound, 3D surface map and patient electrocardiogram data, and is adaptable to any existing electrophysiology (EP) procedure room.
   
“Combined with all three imaging modalities, we take an existing EP or cardiology-based catheter and are able to drive it around with a lot of precision and accuracy to designated targets in the heart,” said Jim Feenstra, president and COO, Hansen. He added that the “procedures are currently done manually at the bedside so the physician is inside the radiation field obviously absorbing radiation for long periods of time.”

The mobile workstation, which is placed away from direct radiation, allows the physician to remain seated throughout the procedure and decreases operator fatigue. The Sensei system has the ability to increase the speed and effectiveness of the procedure as well.

“The ability to hold these EP catheters onto an anatomical site of a beating heart can be challenging” as a physician manually holds on to the catheter and looks at imaging, said Feenstra. “The robotic system has an ability to hold a very stable position with the catheter tip to the surface of the inside of the heart,” he added.
   
Though the system is not yet available for commercial use, it has shown a 40-50 percent improvement in procedure time in animal studies. Additionally, 44 human patients in Europe have undergone procedures with the system and the results were very positive, Feenstra said.

The Sensei system is designed to operate in conjunction with a control catheter that contains a through lumen to accommodate percutaneous catheters. The control catheter is capable of movement with six degrees of freedom, which facilitates placement of percutaneous catheters in locations that are difficult to reach, the company said.