In vivo demonstration of photoacoustic image guidance and robotic visual servoing for cardiac catheter-based interventions

Michelle Graham, Fabrizio Assis, Derek Allman, Alycen Wiacek, Eduardo Gonzalez, Mardava Gubbi, Jinxin Dong, Huayu Hou, Sarah Beck, Jonathan Chrispin, Muyinatu A.Lediju Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Cardiac interventional procedures are often performed under fluoroscopic guidance, exposing both the patient and operators to ionizing radiation. To reduce this risk of radiation exposure, we are exploring the use of photoacoustic imaging paired with robotic visual servoing for cardiac catheter visualization and surgical guidance. A cardiac catheterization procedure was performed on two in vivo swine after inserting an optical fiber into the cardiac catheter to produce photoacoustic signals from the tip of the fiber-catheter pair. A combination of photoacoustic imaging and robotic visual servoing was employed to visualize and maintain constant sight of the catheter tip in order to guide the catheter through the femoral or jugular vein, toward the heart. Fluoroscopy provided initial ground truth estimates for 1D validation of the catheter tip positions, and these estimates were refined using a 3D electromagnetic-based cardiac mapping system as the ground truth. The 1D and 3D root mean square errors ranged 0.25-2.28 mm and 1.24-1.54 mm, respectively. The catheter tip was additionally visualized at three locations within the heart: (1) inside the right atrium, (2) in contact with the right ventricular outflow tract, and (3) inside the right ventricle. Lasered regions of cardiac tissue were resected for histopathological analysis, which revealed no laser-related tissue damage, despite the use of 2.98 mJ per pulse at the fiber tip (379.2 mJ/cm2 fluence). In addition, there was a 19 dB difference in photoacoustic signal contrast when visualizing the catheter tip pre- and post-endocardial tissue contact, which is promising for contact confirmation during cardiac interventional procedures (e.g., cardiac radiofrequency ablation). These results are additionally promising for the use of photoacoustic imaging to guide cardiac interventions by providing depth information and enhanced visualization of catheter tip locations within blood vessels and within the beating heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8825818
Pages (from-to)1015-1029
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Autonomous systems
  • Biomedical optical imaging
  • Cardiology
  • Catheterization
  • Medical robotics
  • Photoacoustic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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