Computational design optimization of patient-specific shape-morphing catheter tips

This research project is funded by the faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Delft University of Technology.

Catheters are essential for minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat pathologies such as heart failure. The vascular system exhibits a complex geometry with multiple branches, junctions and obstacles. Selection of the appropriate tools and shapes requires thorough planning and patient imaging data. To ease the procedure and limit the consecutive use of catheters with different tip shapes, there is a need for versatile compliant tips that can smoothly morph between patient-specific predefined shapes.

This research aims to develop a computational optimization framework to design wire-actuated compliant catheter tips that deform between predefined shapes as a function of the magnitude of force applied by the operator. The framework allows for designing tips with variable tube wall geometry, material properties, and wire guiding patterns while preserving the tube-like structure of the tip. Collectively, these variables allow for the design freedom required to achieve tailored local mechanical properties and loading that jointly define extreme shape-morphing capabilities.