AI-enabled, ultrasound-guided handheld robotic device for femoral vascular access
December 18, 2021
Hemorrhage is a leading cause of trauma death, particularly in prehospital environments when evacuation is delayed. Obtaining central vascular access to a deep artery or vein is important for administration of emergency drugs and analgesics, and rapid replacement of blood volume, as well as invasive sensing and emerging life-saving interventions. However, central access is normally performed by highly experienced critical care physicians in a hospital setting. We developed a handheld AI-enabled interventional device, AI-GUIDE (Artificial Intelligence Guided Ultrasound Interventional Device), capable of directing users with no ultrasound or interventional expertise to catheterize a deep blood vessel, with an initial focus on the femoral vein. AI-GUIDE integrates with widely available commercial portable ultrasound systems and guides a user in ultrasound probe localization, venous puncture-point localization, and needle insertion. The system performs vascular puncture robotically and incorporates a preloaded guidewire to facilitate the Seldinger technique of catheter insertion. Results from tissue-mimicking phantom and porcine studies under normotensive and hypotensive conditions provide evidence of the technique's robustness, with key performance metrics in a live porcine model including: a mean time to acquire femoral vein insertion point of 53 plus or minus 36 s (5 users with varying experience, in 20 trials), a total time to insert catheter of 80 plus or minus 30 s (1 user, in 6 trials), and a mean number of 1.1 (normotensive, 39 trials) and 1.3 (hypotensive, 55 trials) needle insertion attempts (1 user). These performance metrics in a porcine model are consistent with those for experienced medical providers performing central vascular access on humans in a hospital.