An evaluation method for the mechanical performance of guide-wires and catheters in accessing the upper urinary tract
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The placement of guide-wires and catheters to gain access to the upper urinary tract can induce undesirable stresses on tissues. Previous studies have characterized the performance of wires and catheters by evaluating their physical properties such as stiffness and friction coefficient. However, the results of these studies do not directly quantify the wire's effects on tissues. Furthermore, the individual physical properties of wires and catheters investigated in previous studies cannot be simply summed up to characterize the behavior of an entire wire/catheter ensemble. This paper presents an objective method for testing guide-wires and catheters that estimates the forces applied by these instruments to anatomical structures during urological procedures. Our model utilizes a computer-controlled test stand that simulates a urological environment by including a tortuous path and a stone obstruction. Experimental results using this model show significant promise in reflecting the performance of guide-wires and catheters measuring the stress exerted upon relevant anatomical structures. Furthermore, due to the modularity of the approach, the model can be easily reconfigured to simulate environments relevant to other medical fields.
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