Current and emerging robot-assisted endovascular catheterization technologies: a review

Ann Biomed Eng. 2014 Apr;42(4):697-715. doi: 10.1007/s10439-013-0946-8. Epub 2013 Nov 27.


Endovascular techniques have been embraced as a minimally-invasive treatment approach within different disciplines of interventional radiology and cardiology. The current practice of endovascular procedures, however, is limited by a number of factors including exposure to high doses of X-ray radiation, limited 3D imaging, and lack of contact force sensing from the endovascular tools and the vascular anatomy. More recently, advances in steerable catheters and development of master/slave robots have aimed to improve these practices by removing the operator from the radiation source and increasing the precision and stability of catheter motion with added degrees-of-freedom. Despite their increased application and a growing research interest in this area, many such systems have been designed without considering the natural manipulation skills and ergonomic preferences of the operators. Existing studies on tool interactions and natural manipulation skills of the operators are limited. In this manuscript, new technical developments in different aspects of robotic endovascular intervention including catheter instrumentation, intra-operative imaging and navigation techniques, as well as master/slave based robotic catheterization platforms are reviewed. We further address emerging trends and new research opportunities towards more widespread clinical acceptance of robotically assisted endovascular technologies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Robotics*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted*
  • Vascular Access Devices*