COMPLEX SHAPE STEERABLE TISSUE VISUALIZATION AND MANIPULATION CATHETER
A system comprises a steerable sheath including a passageway therethrough and a steerable segment extendable from the passageway. The steerable segment defines a lumen. The system also includes an imaging element extending from a distal end of the steerable segment.
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This application is a division of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/117,655 filed on May 8, 2008, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/916,640 filed May 8, 2007, the full disclosures of which (including all references incorporated by reference therein) are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to catheters having imaging and manipulation features for intravascularly accessing regions of the body.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Conventional devices for accessing and visualizing interior regions of a body lumen are known. For example, ultrasound devices have been used to produce images from within a body in vivo. Ultrasound has been used both with and without contrast agents, which typically enhance ultrasound-derived images.
Other conventional methods have utilized catheters or probes having position sensors deployed within the body lumen, such as the interior of a cardiac chamber. These types of positional sensors are typically used to determine the movement of a cardiac tissue surface or the electrical activity within the cardiac tissue. When a sufficient number of points have been sampled by the sensors, a “map” of the cardiac tissue may be generated.
Another conventional device utilizes an inflatable balloon which is typically introduced intravascularly in a deflated state and then inflated against the tissue region to be examined. Imaging is typically accomplished by an optical fiber or other apparatus such as electronic chips for viewing the tissue through the membrane(s) of the inflated balloon. Moreover, the balloon must generally be inflated for imaging. Other conventional balloons utilize a cavity or depression formed at a distal end of the inflated balloon. This cavity or depression is pressed against the tissue to be examined and is flushed with a clear fluid to provide a clear pathway through the blood.
However, such imaging balloons have many inherent disadvantages. For instance, such balloons generally require that the balloon be inflated to a relatively large size which may undesirably displace surrounding tissue and interfere with fine positioning of the imaging system against the tissue. Moreover, the working area created by such inflatable balloons are generally cramped and limited in size. Furthermore, inflated balloons may be susceptible to pressure changes in the surrounding fluid. For example, if the environment surrounding the inflated balloon undergoes pressure changes, e.g., during systolic and diastolic pressure cycles in a beating heart, the constant pressure change may affect the inflated balloon volume and its positioning to produce unsteady or undesirable conditions for optimal tissue imaging.
Accordingly, these types of imaging modalities are generally unable to provide desirable images useful for sufficient diagnosis and therapy of the endoluminal structure, due in part to factors such as dynamic forces generated by the natural movement of the heart. Moreover, anatomic structures within the body can occlude or obstruct the image acquisition process. Also, the presence and movement of opaque bodily fluids such as blood generally make in vivo imaging of tissue regions within the heart difficult.
Other external imaging modalities are also conventionally utilized. For example, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are typical modalities which are widely used to obtain images of body lumens such as the interior chambers of the heart. However, such imaging modalities fail to provide real-time imaging for intra-operative therapeutic procedures. Fluoroscopic imaging, for instance, is widely used to identify anatomic landmarks within the heart and other regions of the body. However, fluoroscopy fails to provide an accurate image of the tissue quality or surface and also fails to provide for instrumentation for performing tissue manipulation or other therapeutic procedures upon the visualized tissue regions. In addition, fluoroscopy provides a shadow of the intervening tissue onto a plate or sensor when it may be desirable to view the intraluminal surface of the tissue to diagnose pathologies or to perform some form of therapy on it.
Moreover, many of the conventional imaging systems lack the capability to provide therapeutic treatments or are difficult to manipulate in providing effective therapies. For instance, the treatment in a patient's heart for atrial fibrillation is generally made difficult by a number of factors, such as visualization of the target tissue, access to the target tissue, and instrument articulation and management, amongst others.
Conventional catheter techniques and devices, for example such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,895,417; 5,941,845; and 6,129,724, used on the epicardial surface of the heart may be difficult in assuring a transmural lesion or complete blockage of electrical signals. In addition, current devices may have difficulty dealing with varying thickness of tissue through which a transmural lesion is desired.
Conventional accompanying imaging devices, such as fluoroscopy, are unable to detect perpendicular electrode orientation, catheter movement during the cardiac cycle, and image catheter position throughout lesion formation. Without real-time visualization, it is difficult to reposition devices to another area that requires transmural lesion ablation. The absence of real-time visualization also poses the risk of incorrect placement and ablation of critical structures such as sinus node tissue which can lead to fatal consequences.BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A tissue imaging system which is able to provide real-time in vivo access to and images of tissue regions within body lumens such as the heart through opaque media such as blood and which also provides instruments for therapeutic procedures is provided by the invention.
The tissue-imaging apparatus relates to embodiments of a device and method to provide real-time images in vivo of tissue regions within a body lumen such as a heart, which is filled with blood flowing dynamically through it. Such an apparatus may be utilized for many procedures, e.g., mitral valvuloplasty, left atrial appendage closure, arrhythmia ablation (such as treatment for atrial fibrillation), transseptal access and patent foramen ovale closure among other procedures. Further details of such a visualization catheter and methods of use are shown and described in U.S. Pat. Pub. 2006/0184048 A1, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
Generally, the embodiments of a tissue imaging and manipulation device depicted in the present invention meet the challenge and solve the problem of accessing regions of the body which are typically difficult to access. The design and control of the catheter shaft and the distal tip of the device as disclosed here provide a device uniquely capable of accessing a region such as the human heart, which is a region not only difficult to access, but which also has continuous blood flow. The blood flow provides a barrier to visualizing the local tissue, which in turn makes any manipulation at the local tissue nearly impossible. The unique elements that form the catheter shaft and the distal tip of the device, including the separate control of the shaft and tip and several optional modes of manipulation of either or both, provide for a device adaptable to addressing the challenges inherent in intravascular access and manipulation of heart tissue, and for accomplishing a procedure in any other difficult-to-access region in the body which is bathed in a medium that interferes with visualization.
Blood is continuously flowing through the heart at all times, and as such presents a challenge to direct visualization and subsequent manipulation of heart tissue.
The tissue imaging and manipulation apparatus can comprise a delivery catheter or sheath through which a deployment catheter and imaging hood may be advanced for placement against or adjacent to the tissue to be imaged. The deployment catheter can have a fluid delivery lumen through it as well as an imaging lumen within which an optical imaging fiber or electronic imaging assembly may be disposed for imaging tissue. The distal tip of the device is an articulatable tip connected to the catheter shaft, when deployed, the imaging hood within the articulatable tip may be expanded into any number of shapes, e.g., cylindrical, conical as shown, semi-spherical, etc., provided that an open area or field is defined by the imaging hood. The open area of the articulatable tip is the area within which the tissue region of interest may be imaged. The imaging hood may also define an atraumatic contact lip or edge for placement or abutment against the tissue surface in the region of interest. The distal end of the deployment catheter or separate manipulatable catheters within a delivery sheath may be articulated through various controlling mechanisms such as push-pull wires manually or via computer control.
The visualization catheter may also have one or more membranes or layers of a polymeric material which covers at least a portion of the open area. The membrane or layer may be an extension of the deployed hood or it may be a separate structure. In either case, the membrane or layer may define at least one opening which allows for fluid communication between the visualization hood and the fluid environment within which the catheter is immersed.
In operation, after the imaging hood (at the articulatable tip) has been deployed, fluid may be pumped at a positive pressure through the fluid delivery lumen (within the catheter) until the fluid fills the open area completely and displaces any blood from within the open area. When the hood and membrane or layer is pressed against the tissue region to be visualized or treated, the contact between the one or more openings and the tissue surface may help to retain the clear fluid within the hood for visualization. Moreover, the membrane or layer may help to retain the fluid within the hood while also minimizing any fluid leakage therefrom. Additionally, the one or more openings may also provide for direct access to the underlying tissue region to be treated by any number of tools or instruments positioned within the hood at the articulatable tip.
The fluid may comprise any biocompatible fluid, e.g., saline, water, plasma, Fluorinert™, etc., which is sufficiently transparent to allow for relatively undistorted visualization through the fluid. The fluid may be pumped continuously or intermittently to allow for image capture by an optional processor which may be in communication with the assembly.
The imaging hood may be deployed into an expanded shape and retracted within a catheter utilizing various mechanisms. Moreover, an imaging element, such as a CCD/CMOS imaging camera, may be positioned distally or proximally of the imaging hood when collapsed into its low-profile configuration. Such a configuration may reduce or eliminate friction during deployment and retraction as well as increase the available space within the catheter not only for the imaging unit but also for the hood.
In further controlling the flow of the purging fluid within the hood, various measures may be taken in configuring the assembly to allow for the infusion and controlled retention of the clearing fluid into the hood. By controlling the infusion and retention of the clearing fluid, the introduction of the clearing fluid into the patient body may be limited and the clarity of the imaging of the underlying tissue through the fluid within the hood may be maintained for relatively longer periods of time by inhibiting, delaying, or preventing the infusion of surrounding blood into the viewing field.
Accordingly, there is provided a device for visualization and manipulation of difficult-to-reach tissue surfaces in a region of a body having a continuous interfering blood flow comprising a steerable catheter shaft having controls for steering of the shaft in multiple planes. The steering of the catheter and/or sheath may be separately controlled during a procedure so that a proximal steerable section of a catheter shaft can be steered to a target region without manipulation of the distal steerable section. Upon arrival at the target region, slight adjustments and steering of the hood may be articulated (and/or independently) to address the tissue surface or otherwise contact or approach a tissue surface.
The tasks performed by the articulatable hood utilize movement of the catheter shaft, but the movements of the hood and the shaft can be independent in function and control. For example, in order for the hood to contact the tissue surface to flush the region in preparation for imaging, or for making contact with and manipulating the tissue (e.g., forming a lesion around a pulmonary ostium and the like), the catheter shaft may be moved and directed or re-directed to position the hood, then once the catheter shaft has placed the hood in a desirable position, further articulation and control of the hood for cutting or lesion formation or the like can occur. For example, the hood can be articulated to contact the tissue surface and form a suitable seal in order to flush the surface with saline to visualize the tissue at the surface. The hood may have a conforming lip that can be used to make contact with the tissue surface to facilitate any of these tasks or manipulations. At the point where the hood is negotiating its position at the tissue surface, any subsequent adjustments that may need to be made to the positioning of the shaft can be made independently of the movement of the hood, although, where catheter shaft adjustment can facilitate the hood's position relative to the tissue surface, the two control mechanisms can work in concert with each other.
The distal articulatable hood can comprise one or more articulatable units along the hood that are adapted to distal control and that allow the hood to conform to the tissue surface. The articulatable units can comprise multiple steerable leaflets inside a cone-like hood. An articulatable unit can comprise a steerable hood. It may also comprise control members within the hood that allow the practitioner to manipulate the lip that surrounds the hood and the like. The distal articulatable hood can comprise a conforming lip that can be passively steered to contact the tissue surface.
The device can further comprise two or more variations in durometer along the catheter shaft. For example, where there is at least one variation in durometer along the catheter shaft, the variation in durometer can comprise a region of increased flexibility distal to a region of relatively reduced flexibility, so that the distal most end is more flexible and manipulatable.
Where the catheter shaft comprises locking units, the shaft can further comprise an outer sheath to smooth out links in the catheter shaft in the region of the shaft having the locking units.
The catheter shaft can be multi-lumen and comprise multiple pull wires, each pull wire having its own separate access lumen within the catheter shaft. In addition, the device can have a fixed bent sheath over a portion of the catheter shaft to limit the movement of the shaft where the sheath is positioned and define a fixed angle of direction of the shaft at the fixed bend.
A tissue visualization unit adapted to visualizing accessed tissue can be positioned within the articulatable tip or hood. A tissue manipulation unit adapted to manipulating accessed tissue can likewise be positioned within the articulatable tip. A device can have both such units, for optimally imaging and manipulating in the body during a procedure in real-time.
The invention is also a system for intravascularly accessing difficult to access target tissue in a region of the body having continuous interfering blood flow. The system employs a device adapted to visualization and manipulation of the accessed target tissue as just described. The device for the system may have a catheter capable of flushing the target tissue surface at the distal tip so that visualization and manipulation at the surface can occur once the tip is in contact with the tissue surface, and both a unit for visualizing the tissue surface and manipulating tissue at the tissue surface positioned within the articulatable tip. Alternatively, the system can be just for visualization of the tissue surface, in which case it will only have the visualization mechanism.
Also contemplated are methods of visualizing or manipulating difficult-to-access target tissue in a region of a body having continuous interfering blood flow. One method comprises introducing into a main artery in a patient a device described herein having the steerable catheter component and the distal attached articulatable tip component. The controls for the catheter shaft may include pull wires, locking units and variations in durometer of the shaft, etc. The articulatable hood is expandable upon arrival of the device at a target region in a body, and the hood is capable of expansion to a greater diameter than the catheter shaft.
Further refinements to the steering and control of the proximal steerable section of the catheter can be accomplished a number of ways. The catheter shaft may have a multi-lumen extrusion through which pullwires can be placed for controlling the shaft using keyhole lumens to refine the articulation of the steerable segment of the catheter. Accordingly, using these elements, the proximal steerable section is able to articulate within multiple planes relative to a longitudinal axis of the catheter.
The proximal steerable section can be configured using a steering guide that travels along a steering actuator. The steering guide is a rigid member and the steering actuator can slide along it to affect a transition of the steerable segment. This embodiment can further comprise pullwires that travel with the steering guide.
Another configuration of the apparatus that facilitates complex manipulation of both the steerable segment and the distal segment (including the hood) is a push steering mechanism in which a hinged bar aligns with the base of the distal segment and connects to the base of a region in the steerable segment that also connects to a slidable sheath located more proximally. The hinged bars control movement of the hood by creating a curve in the steerable segment that directs push control to the hood. The hinged bar guides and limits the movement of the steerable section in order to direct the position of the distal hood towards a target region. In this way the distal steerable section is adapted to articulate within one or more planes relative to a longitudinal axis of the proximal steerable section.
The embodiments directed towards complex steering, manipulation and control of the steerable sections can include that the proximal and distal steerable sections each comprise a plurality of serially aligned links which are selected from pin links, bump links, ring links, one-way links, and four-way links, etc. In addition, the proximal and distal steerable sections can each comprise a durometer different from one another. In yet another embodiment, the proximal section can comprise a steerable retro-flexing introducer sheath that directs the distal steerable section to articulate within one or more planes relative to a longitudinal axis of the proximal steerable section.
Another variation is directed towards optimized and complicated visualization of the target tissue using the visualization hood. The distal steerable section can comprise an expandable visualization member, which can be balloon expandable. Imaging elements can reside within the expanded visualization member. The expandable imaging member can be compressed for delivery in the catheter and then expanded upon release from the distal end of the catheter.
The distal steerable section can comprise an expandable anchoring member and an ablation optical source, positioned distal of an expandable visualization member. The ablation optical source can be placed in the visualization member for ablating local tissue. The anchoring member can serve to anchor the distal end at the target region so that the ablation can be directed to specific target locations. Yet another embodiment includes that the distal steerable section comprising an infrared endoscope.
The proximal and distal sections can be controlled by a handle at the proximal end of the catheter for driving the proximal and distal steering segments, and for supporting a variety of tools. The tools can be selected from a syringe, a fiberscope, a needle, valves for irrigation port, imaging elements, and valves for passing tools, for example. Pullwires can be connected to a steering lever on the handle for providing tension through the pullwires to the steerable sections of the catheter. For example, a lever on the handle can be turned to provide tension on the pullwires, which in turn controls the movement of the proximal steerable section or the distal steerable section.
Also included are methods of accessing difficult-to-reach target tissue in a region of a body having continuous interfering blood flow by articulating the proximal steerable section within multiple planes relative to a longitudinal axis of the catheter guided by keyhole lumens, and articulating the distal steerable section within one or more planes relative to a longitudinal axis of the proximal steerable section. Accordingly, the distal hood can contact difficult to reach target tissue, for example, using complex curves generated with the proximal steerable segment so that the distal segment (the hood) can contact the target tissue perpendicularly, thus providing optimum contact of the hood with the tissue. Visualizing the target tissue within an open area through the transparent fluid can be accomplished if the visualization hood is flushed with saline or other clear fluid so that the blood is cleared providing an unobstructed visualization at the region. Processes such as ablation, or marking can occur using the distal hood of at least a portion of the target tissue within the open area that has been cleared of blood.
The tissue-imaging and manipulation apparatus of the invention is able to provide real-time images in vivo of tissue regions within a body lumen such as a heart, which are filled with blood flowing dynamically through the region. The apparatus is also able to provide intravascular tools and instruments for performing various procedures upon the imaged tissue regions. Such an apparatus may be utilized for many procedures, e.g., facilitating transseptal access to the left atrium, cannulating the coronary sinus, diagnosis of valve regurgitation/stenosis, valvuloplasty, atrial appendage closure, arrhythmogenic focus ablation (such as for treating atrial fibrulation), among other procedures. Disclosure and information regarding tissue visualization catheters generally which can be applied to the invention are shown and described in further detail in commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/259,498 filed Oct. 25, 2005, and published as U.S. Pat. Pub. 2006/0184048, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The basic apparatus for visualizing and manipulating tissue upon intravascular access to the target region are depicted in
One variation of a tissue access and imaging apparatus is shown in the detail perspective views of
When the imaging and manipulation assembly 10 is ready to be utilized for imaging tissue, imaging hood 12 may be advanced relative to catheter 14 and deployed from a distal opening of catheter 14, as shown by the arrow. Upon deployment, imaging hood 12 may be unconstrained to expand or open into a deployed imaging configuration, as shown in
Imaging hood 12 may be attached at interface 24 to a deployment catheter 16 which may be translated independently of deployment catheter or sheath 14. Attachment of interface 24 may be accomplished through any number of conventional methods. Deployment catheter 16 may define a fluid delivery lumen 18 as well as an imaging lumen 20 within which an optical imaging fiber or assembly may be disposed for imaging tissue. When deployed, imaging hood 12 may expand into any number of shapes, e.g., cylindrical, conical as shown, semi-spherical, etc., provided that an open area or field 26 is defined by imaging hood 12. The open area 26 is the area within which the tissue region of interest may be imaged. Imaging hood 12 may also define an atraumatic contact lip or edge 22 for placement or abutment against the tissue region of interest. Moreover, the diameter of imaging hood 12 at its maximum fully deployed diameter, e.g., at contact lip or edge 22, is typically greater relative to a diameter of the deployment catheter 16 (although a diameter of contact lip or edge 22 may be made to have a smaller or equal diameter of deployment catheter 16). For instance, the contact edge diameter may range anywhere from 1 to 5 times (or even greater, as practicable) a diameter of deployment catheter 16.
The imaging and manipulation assembly 10 may additionally define a guidewire lumen therethrough, e.g., a concentric or eccentric lumen, as shown in the side and end views, respectively, of
In operation, after imaging hood 12 has been deployed, as in
As seen in the example of
Although contact edge 22 need not directly contact the underlying tissue, it is at least preferably brought into close proximity to the tissue such that the flow of clear fluid 28 from open area 26 may be maintained to inhibit significant backflow of blood 30 back into open area 26. Contact edge 22 may also be made of a soft elastomeric material such as certain soft grades of silicone or polyurethane, as typically known, to help contact edge 22 conform to an uneven or rough underlying anatomical tissue surface. Once the blood 30 has been displaced from imaging hood 12, an image may then be viewed of the underlying tissue through the clear fluid 30. This image may then be recorded or available for real-time viewing for performing a therapeutic procedure. The positive flow of fluid 28 may be maintained continuously to provide for clear viewing of the underlying tissue. Alternatively, the fluid 28 may be pumped temporarily or sporadically only until a clear view of the tissue is available to be imaged and recorded, at which point the fluid flow 28 may cease and blood 30 may be allowed to seep or flow back into imaging hood 12. This process may be repeated a number of times at the same tissue region or at multiple tissue regions.
In desirably positioning the assembly at various regions within the patient body, a number of articulation and manipulation controls may be utilized. For example, as shown in the articulatable imaging assembly 40 in
Additionally or alternatively, an articulatable delivery catheter 48, which may be articulated via one or more push-pull wires and having an imaging lumen and one or more working lumens, may be delivered through the deployment catheter 16 and into imaging hood 12. With a distal portion of articulatable delivery catheter 48 within imaging hood 12, the clear displacing fluid may be pumped through delivery catheter 48 or deployment catheter 16 to clear the field within imaging hood 12. As shown in
Alternatively, rather than passing an articulatable delivery catheter 48 through the deployment catheter 16, a distal portion of the deployment catheter 16 itself may comprise a distal end 49 which is articulatable within imaging hood 12, as shown in
Visualization within the imaging hood 12 may be accomplished through an imaging lumen 20 defined through deployment catheter 16, as described above. In such a configuration, visualization is available in a straight-line manner, i.e., images are generated from the field distally along a longitudinal axis defined by the deployment catheter 16. Alternatively or additionally, an articulatable imaging assembly having a pivotable support member 50 may be connected to, mounted to, or otherwise passed through deployment catheter 16 to provide for visualization off-axis relative to the longitudinal axis defined by deployment catheter 16, as shown in
If one or more optical fibers are utilized for imaging, the optical fibers 58 may be passed through deployment catheter 16, as shown in the cross-section of
In accessing regions of the heart H or other parts of the body, the delivery catheter or sheath 14 may comprise a conventional intra-vascular catheter or an endoluminal delivery device. Alternatively, robotically-controlled delivery catheters may also be optionally utilized with the imaging assembly described herein, in which case a computer-controller 74 may be used to control the articulation and positioning of the delivery catheter 14. An example of a robotically-controlled delivery catheter which may be utilized is described in further detail in US Pat. Pub. 2002/0087169 A1 to Brock et al. entitled “Flexible Instrument”, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Other robotically-controlled delivery catheters manufactured by Hansen Medical, Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) may also be utilized with the delivery catheter 14.
To facilitate stabilization of the deployment catheter 16 during a procedure, one or more inflatable balloons or anchors 76 may be positioned along the length of catheter 16, as shown in
To further stabilize a position of the imaging hood 12 relative to a tissue surface to be imaged, various anchoring mechanisms may be optionally employed for temporarily holding the imaging hood 12 against the tissue. Such anchoring mechanisms may be particularly useful for imaging tissue which is subject to movement, e.g., when imaging tissue within the chambers of a beating heart. A tool delivery catheter 82 having at least one instrument lumen and an optional visualization lumen may be delivered through deployment catheter 16 and into an expanded imaging hood 12. As the imaging hood 12 is brought into contact against a tissue surface T to be examined, anchoring mechanisms such as a helical tissue piercing device 84 may be passed through the tool delivery catheter 82, as shown in
The helical tissue engaging device 84 may be torqued from its proximal end outside the patient body to temporarily anchor itself into the underlying tissue surface T. Once embedded within the tissue T, the helical tissue engaging device 84 may be pulled proximally relative to deployment catheter 16 while the deployment catheter 16 and imaging hood 12 are pushed distally, as indicated by the arrows in
Although a helical anchor 84 is shown, this is intended to be illustrative and other types of temporary anchors may be utilized, e.g., hooked or barbed anchors, graspers, etc. Moreover, the tool delivery catheter 82 may be omitted entirely and the anchoring device may be delivered directly through a lumen defined through the deployment catheter 16.
In another variation where the tool delivery catheter 82 may be omitted entirely to temporarily anchor imaging hood 12,
An illustrative example is shown in
Optionally, processor 98 may also be utilized to coordinate the fluid flow and the image capture. For instance, processor 98 may be programmed to provide for fluid flow from reservoir 96 until the tissue area has been displaced of blood to obtain a clear image. Once the image has been determined to be sufficiently clear, either visually by a practitioner or by computer, an image of the tissue may be captured automatically by recorder 100 and pump 92 may be automatically stopped or slowed by processor 98 to cease the fluid flow into the patient. Other variations for fluid delivery and image capture are, of course, possible and the aforementioned configuration is intended only to be illustrative and not limiting.
Deployment of imaging hood 12 may be actuated by a hood deployment switch 120 located on the handle assembly 112 while dispensation of the fluid from reservoir 114 may be actuated by a fluid deployment switch 122, which can be electrically coupled to the controller 118. Controller 118 may also be electrically coupled to a wired or wireless antenna 124 optionally integrated with the handle assembly 112, as shown in the figure. The wireless antenna 124 can be used to wirelessly transmit images captured from the imaging hood 12 to a receiver, e.g., via Bluetooth® wireless technology (Bluetooth SIG, Inc., Bellevue, Wash.), RF, etc., for viewing on a monitor 128 or for recording for later viewing.
Articulation control of the deployment catheter 16, or a delivery catheter or sheath 14 through which the deployment catheter 16 may be delivered, may be accomplished by computer control, as described above, in which case an additional controller may be utilized with handle assembly 112. In the case of manual articulation, handle assembly 112 may incorporate one or more articulation controls 126 for manual manipulation of the position of deployment catheter 16. Handle assembly 112 may also define one or more instrument ports 130 through which a number of intravascular tools may be passed for tissue manipulation and treatment within imaging hood 12, as described further below. Furthermore, in certain procedures, fluid or debris may be sucked into imaging hood 12 for evacuation from the patient body by optionally fluidly coupling a suction pump 132 to handle assembly 112 or directly to deployment catheter 16.
As described above, fluid may be pumped continuously into imaging hood 12 to provide for clear viewing of the underlying tissue. Alternatively, fluid may be pumped temporarily or sporadically only until a clear view of the tissue is available to be imaged and recorded, at which point the fluid flow may cease and the blood may be allowed to seep or flow back into imaging hood 12.
The deployment catheter 16 may be then repositioned to an adjacent portion of mitral valve MV, as shown in
As mentioned above, when the imaging hood 12 is cleared by pumping the imaging fluid within for clearing the blood or other bodily fluid, the fluid may be pumped continuously to maintain the imaging fluid within the hood 12 at a positive pressure or it may be pumped under computer control for slowing or stopping the fluid flow into the hood 12 upon detection of various parameters or until a clear image of the underlying tissue is obtained. The control electronics 118 may also be programmed to coordinate the fluid flow into the imaging hood 12 with various physical parameters to maintain a clear image within imaging hood 12.
One example is shown in
The variations in fluid pressure within imaging hood 12 may be accomplished in part due to the nature of imaging hood 12. An inflatable balloon, which is conventionally utilized for imaging tissue, may be affected by the surrounding blood pressure changes. On the other hand, an imaging hood 12 retains a constant volume therewithin and is structurally unaffected by the surrounding blood pressure changes, thus allowing for pressure increases therewithin. The material that hood 12 is made from may also contribute to the manner in which the pressure is modulated within this hood 12. A stiffer hood material, such as high durometer polyurethane or Nylon, may facilitate the maintaining of an open hood when deployed. On the other hand, a relatively lower durometer or softer material, such as a low durometer PVC or polyurethane, may collapse from the surrounding fluid pressure and may not adequately maintain a deployed or expanded hood.
In further controlling the flow of the purging fluid within the hood 12, various measures may be taken in configuring the assembly to allow for the infusion and controlled retention of the clearing fluid into the hood. By controlling the infusion and retention of the clearing fluid, the introduction of the clearing fluid into the patient body may be limited and the clarity of the imaging of the underlying tissue through the fluid within the hood 12 may be maintained for relatively longer periods of time by inhibiting, delaying, or preventing the infusion of surrounding blood into the viewing field.
In utilizing the hood 12 and various instruments through the hood for tissue treatment, hood 12 may be articulated in a variety of configurations to facilitate the access to regions within the heart. For instance, access to the left atrium of a patient's heart for performing treatments such as tissue ablation for atrial fibrillation may require hood 12 to be retroflexed in various configurations to enable sufficient access. Thus, the ability to control the steering or articulation of hood 12 within the patient's heart may facilitate tissue visualization and treatment.
When pull wire 204 is tensioned, the exposed portions of the catheter may function as pivoting sections biasing the catheter to bend in predetermined directions. Keyhole lumens may be utilized through sections of the steerable segment 202, as illustrated in the cross-sectional views of
With regard to the articulatable segments 226, various types of links may be utilized to affect a corresponding articulation. The links may be ring links, “bump” links e.g. contoured links having a distal curved surface that is convex in shape, and a proximal curved surface that is concave in shape, such that when serially aligned with a similar link, the curved convex distal surface of one link mates correspondingly with the curved concave proximal surface of the adjacent link and allows the relative pivoting or rocking between the adjacent links along a defined plane. Links may also be pinned links each having a pin running through it, laser cut tubes or double durometer extrusions.
Each of the links 226 may define one or more channels therethrough such that when a plurality of links 226 are aligned and mated to one another, each individual channel forms a continuous lumen through the segment. A lining, such as an elastic heat shrink polymer, may be coated upon the link segments to ensure a smooth surface along the links. Moreover, the links can be made from materials such as stainless steel, PEEK, hard plastics, etc., and manufactured through machining, molding, metal injection molding, etc.
Further examples of links and details of additional variations in steering configurations and mechanisms which may be utilized herein are shown and described in further detail in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/108,812 filed Apr. 24, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The applications of the disclosed invention discussed above are not limited to certain treatments or regions of the body, but may include any number of other treatments and areas of the body. Modification of the above-described methods and devices for carrying out the invention, and variations of aspects of the invention that are obvious to those of skill in the arts are intended to be within the scope of this disclosure. Moreover, various combinations of aspects between examples are also contemplated and are considered to be within the scope of this disclosure as well.
4. A system comprising:
- a steerable sheath including a passageway therethrough;
- a steerable segment extendable from the passageway, the steerable segment defining a lumen; and
- an imaging element extending from a distal end of the steerable segment.
5. The system of claim 4 further comprising a tool extendable through the lumen of the steerable segment.
6. The system of claim 5 wherein the tool includes one of: a needle, a grasper, and an electrode.
7. The system of claim 4 further comprising:
- an expandable visualization membrane expandable from the distal end of the steerable segment.
8. The system of claim 7 further comprising:
- a working channel extending within the expandable visualization membrane from the distal end of the steerable segment.
9. The system of claim 8 wherein the imaging element is coupled to the working channel.
10. The system of claim 7 wherein the expandable visualization membrane includes an energy transmitter for ablation therapy.
11. The system of claim 4, further comprising a guidewire extendable from the steerable sheath.
12. The system of claim 4 wherein the steerable segment includes a multi-lumen extrusion.
13. The system of claim 4 wherein the steerable segment includes a plurality of links.
14. The system of claim 4 wherein the steerable segment includes a steering actuator extending therethrough for controlling movement of the steerable segment.
15. The system of claim 14 wherein the steering actuator includes a steering tube and a pullwire extending through the steering tube.
16. The system of claim 4 wherein the imaging element includes an infrared camera.
17. The system of claim 4 further comprising a light source extending from a distal end of the steerable segment.
18. The system of claim 4 wherein the steerable sheath includes a plurality of links.