Muralidhar Padala, Jaydev Desai, and Baowei Fei Receive Multi-PI Grant to Develop Intravascular Robotic System

June 2018

Muralidhar Padala, PhD, director of the structural heart research program of the Emory Cardiothoracic Research Laboratory, has received an NHLBI multi-PI R01 grant totaling $3M over four years with Jaydev Desai, PhD, associate director of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Baowei Fei, PhD, EngD, director of the Quantitative BioImaging Laboratory, University of Texas at Dallas.

Combining Dr. Padala's expertise in mitral valve repair devices, Dr. Fei's knowledge of imaging, and Dr. Desai's insightful grasp of surgical robotics, the three scientists will work to develop an image-guided intravascular robotic system for mitral valve repair and implants.

As one of the most common valve lesions, mitral regurgitation (MR) affects at least two percent of Americans and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Transcatheter mitral valve repair, a new class of technologies for treating MR, is performed on the beating heart using a catheter guided to the mitral valve to deploy reparative devices. However, traversing the intravascular route to the valve is tortuous and challenging for existing catheters.

Drs. Padala, Desai, and Fei hope to design an intravascular, steerable robot that consists of a highly flexible, articulated, hollow catheter probe capable of delivering the implant towards and beyond the mitral valve opening and onto the valve leaflet. The robot will be manipulated via a multimodality, real-time image-guided navigation and visualization platform that registers and visualizes 3D echocardiography and X-ray fluoroscopy, and will be able to effectively repair MR in all of its forms.

When these aims are accomplished, the team will then determine the efficacy of three mitral valve implants of increasing complexity for use with the intravascular robotic system, and systematically test the safety and performance of the system so that it can be translated to human use.

Once validated, Drs. Padala, Desai, and Fei envision that the system will significantly simplify transcatheter mitral valve repair, increase its procedural accuracy and control, and reduce failure rates.