Experimental validation of robot-assisted cardiovascular catheterization: model-based versus model-free control

  • Xiaomei Wang
  • Kit-Hang Lee
  • Denny K. C. Fu
  • Ziyang Dong
  • Kui Wang
  • Ge Fang
  • Su-Lin Lee
  • Alex P. W. Lee
  • Ka-Wai Kwok
Original Article



In cardiac electrophysiology, a long and flexible catheter is delivered to a cardiac chamber for the treatment of arrhythmias. Although several robot-assisted platforms have been commercialized, the disorientation in tele-operation is still not well solved. We propose a validation platform for robot-assisted cardiac EP catheterization, integrating a customized MR Safe robot, a standard clinically used EP catheter, and a human–robot interface. Both model-based and model-free control methods are implemented in the platform for quantitative evaluation and comparison.


The model-based and model-free control methods were validated by subject test (ten participants), in which the subjects have to perform a simulated radiofrequency ablation task using both methods. A virtual endoscopic view of the catheter is also provided to enhance hand-to-eye coordination. Assessment indices for targeting accuracy and efficiency were acquired for the evaluation.


(1) Accuracy: The average distance measured from catheter tip to the closest lesion target during ablation of model-free method was 19.1% shorter than that of model-based control. (2) Efficiency: The model-free control reduced the total missed targets by 35.8% and the maximum continuously missed targets by 46.2%, both indices corresponded to a low p value (\(\le 0.05\)).


The model-free method performed better in terms of both accuracy and efficiency, indicating the model-free control could adapt to soft interaction with environment, as compared with the model-based control that does not consider contacts.


Cardiac electrophysiology Robotic catheterization Model-based control Model-free control Endoscopic view MR Safe 



This work is supported in part by the Croucher Foundation, the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong (17202317, 17227616 and 27209515), Aptorum Group Limited and Signate Life Sciences Limited.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This article does not contain patient data.


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Copyright information

© CARS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaomei Wang
    • 1
  • Kit-Hang Lee
    • 1
  • Denny K. C. Fu
    • 1
  • Ziyang Dong
    • 1
  • Kui Wang
    • 1
  • Ge Fang
    • 1
  • Su-Lin Lee
    • 2
  • Alex P. W. Lee
    • 3
  • Ka-Wai Kwok
    • 1
  1. 1.The Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  2. 2.The Department of ComputingImperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Prince of Wales HospitalThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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