A virtual reality based surgical skills training simulator for catheter ablation with real-time and robust interaction
Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia that can cause severe heart problems. Catheter ablation is one of the most ideal procedures for the treatment of AF. Physicians qualified to perform this procedure need to be highly skilled in manipulating the relevant surgical devices. This study proposes an interactive surgical simulator with high fidelity to facilitate efficient training and low-cost medical education. Methods We used a shared centerline model to simulate the interaction between multiple surgical devices. An improved adaptive deviation-feedback approach is proposed to accelerate the convergence of each iteration. The periodical beating of the human heart was also simulated in real time using the position-based dynamics (PBD) framework to achieve higher fidelity. We then present a novel method for handling the interaction between the devices and the beating heart mesh model. Experiments were conducted in a homemade simulator prototype to evaluate the robustness, performance, and flexibility of the proposed method. Preliminary evaluation of the simulator was performed by medical students, residents, and surgeons. Results The interaction between surgical devices, static vascular meshes, and beating heart mesh was stably simulated in a frame rate suitable for interaction. Conclusion Our simulator is capable of simulating the procedure of catheter ablation with high fidelity and provides immersive visual experiences and haptic feedback.
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