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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 815246, 8 pages
Research Article

A Novel FEM-Based Numerical Solver for Interactive Catheter Simulation in Virtual Catheterization

1The Department of Computer Science and Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hong Kong

Received 1 July 2011; Revised 12 September 2011; Accepted 13 September 2011

Academic Editor: Shan Zhao

Copyright © 2011 Shun Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Virtual reality-based simulators are very helpful for trainees to acquire the skills of manipulating catheters and guidewires during the vascular interventional surgeries. In the development of such a simulator, however, it is a great challenge to realistically model and simulate deformable catheters and guidewires in an interactive manner. We propose a novel method to simulate the motion of catheters or guidewires and their interactions with patients' vascular system. Our method is based on the principle of minimal total potential energy. We formulate the total potential energy in the vascular interventional circumstance by summing up the elastic energy deriving from the bending of the catheters or guidewires, the potential energy due to the deformation of vessel walls, and the work by the external forces. We propose a novel FEM-based approach to simulate the deformation of catheters and guidewires. The motion of catheters or the guidewires and their responses to every input from the interventionalist can be calculated globally. Experiments have been conducted to validate the feasibility of the proposed method, and the results demonstrate that our method can realistically simulate the complex behaviors of catheters and guidewires in an interactive manner.