New surgical instruments with intelligent sensors created

Many minimally invasive surgeries use catheters inserted into the body through

small incisions for diagnostic testingmeasurements and therapeutic interventions. Doctors, for example, use this catheter-based approach to map and treat irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias, often by locating and destroying or removing the area of ​​heart tissue that is causing the arrhythmias.

Despite its widespread use in surgery,the current catheter approach has several disadvantages. The rigidity of modern catheter devices leads to the fact that they do not adhere well to soft biological tissues. Ultimately, this affects the highly accurate display of the organ's electrophysiological signals. Modern devices only come into contact with a small part of the organ at a time, so it is necessary to constantly move the probe, which lengthens medical procedures. In addition, existing catheter systems are also limited in the number of functions they can perform, requiring clinicians to use multiple catheters in a single ablation procedure.

It should be borne in mind that long-term procedures -for example, to locate and remove tissue causing arrhythmias - risk exposing both patient and physician to potentially hazardous x-rays because physicians rely on x-ray images during surgery to guide their catheters.

All these complexities inspired the developers tocreation of a new class of medical instruments equipped with an advanced soft electronics system that can significantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of a number of heart diseases and conditions.

Developers have applied stretchable and flexiblematrices of electrode sensors and actuators, as well as temperature and pressure sensors to the balloon catheter. This system is often used in minimally invasive surgery or ablation to treat conditions such as cardiac arrhythmias.

A new system that better adapts tosoft tissues of the body than existing devices can serve many functions. We are talking about the simultaneous in vivo measurement of temperature, contact force and electrophysiological parameters; the ability to customize diagnostic and therapeutic functions; real-time feedback. The new system could also significantly reduce the duration of invasive ablation procedures and the exposure of patients and doctors to X-rays.

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