Sunil Rao
Chief Technical Officer,

Trends in Cath Lab Technology

Cath lab imaging technology has migrated from the analogue-based image intensifiers to fully digital flat-panel technology with 3D reconstruction. It has come a long way and despite technological evolution, the core process of angiography imaging still constitutes catheters, balloon interventions, and others, which have matured enough. Current technology continues its effort to improve image quality, reduction in radiation dose, and provide advanced procedural guidance. Also the care provides great value for devices providing high quality at low cost, integrated with possible nanotechnology, information technology, artificial intelligence, delivering highest level of care and safety, and work flow.

Advanced 3D imaging for higher accurate vessel guidance is becoming a standard practice in cath lab procedures along with fusing 3D images from other technologies from 2D images generated by cath devices being practiced today. Future technology may be projected or hologram 3D images, right above the patient with features like rotation and slicing with gesture and tools, which can move angiography and interventional procedures to a different level of technology.

Dose-saving technologies shall be the next challenge to X-ray devices manufacturers. One of the many options is to develop extensive and reliable software for image-enhancement techniques and increase the detector sensitivity. Technology for the detectors with high sensitivity can save the dose to a great extent for the required image of adequate quality. In today’s conventional thermionic sources, since the invention by Rontgen, the performance is limited by heat dissipation and size. Research is underway to use field electron emission of controlled electron beam with nanomaterials, and particularly carbon nanotubes may replace current X-ray source. This can be a remarkable technological advancement and revolution in the field of X-ray generation.

With current IT technology, interfacing to data base would further reduce the workflow management. The trend in artificial intelligence may also contribute improvement in the diagnostic, imaging, and early detection upon the availability of huge data base system with the help of data analytics.

Surgical robotic system may help procedures to become more accurate and faster. As future is to create hybrid OTs, it would help multi-disciplinary procedures under the same roof. With robotic type, the user can operate from a distance and reduction of radiation dose to the maximum extent is possible.

Future cath lab may be driven by technology with substantial assistance from IT and robots, along with possible nanotechnology being used. Interactive 3D hologram may become a reality in future.

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