Surgery, diagnostic imaging  

Device to help patient control breathing during CT-guided biopsy

18 December 2006

Rochester, Minn., USA. Mayo Clinic has developed a new medical device that will help patients control their breathing when undergoing computed tomographic (CT) fluoroscopy-guided biopsies. The Interactive Breath-hold Control will be the first medical device of its kind in the world.

The device will allow physicians to more rapidly and accurately diagnose patients, reducing the need for a more invasive surgical biopsy. Clinical trials of the Interactive Breath-hold Control were conducted at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and in Munich, Germany. Mayo Clinic and a hospital in Munich are currently using the device.

The device measures the breathing of the patient using a simple light display. The wireless display device, which is about the size of a handheld video game, consists of a simple belt with expandable bellows that are wrapped around a patient's upper abdomen or lower chest, individual light displays are located next to the patient, the radiologist's image monitor, the CT operator console, and a system control unit located next to the patient on the CT table.

"By focusing on the display, patients can easily adjust their breathing and consistently reproduce the same reference breath-hold level," says Stephanie Carlson, M.D., a Mayo Clinic radiologist and lead investigator of the project. "This allows the radiologist to conduct a more accurate and safe procedure in less time than if the target area of the lesion were moving."

Prior to the development of this device, CT-guided biopsies were more difficult for radiologists and patients because respiratory (breathing) motion and inconsistent breath holding by patients could obscure the exact target area of a lesion and cause the target nodule to move out of the field of view during the procedure, particularly if the lesions are small or in difficult-to-reach locations.

The Interactive Breath hold Control allows radiologists to perform biopsies on smaller and more difficult to access nodules during a 30- to 45- minute CT-guided procedure. The patient can return home the same day with nothing more than a Band-aid. In the past, difficult lung biopsies would require a surgical procedure resulting in a two- to four-day stay in the hospital.

"The system also helps distract anxious patients during the procedure by giving them something to focus on other than the needle," says Dr. Carlson. "By using this device, patients become less focused on the procedure and the possible discomfort associated with it."

The Mayo team anticipates that there will be additional applications for the Interactive Breath-hold Control in the future, including solitary pulmonary nodule enhancement studies, other dynamic perfusion studies, tumour ablation procedures, intratumoral injections, PET/CT scanning, radiation therapy, and possibly even robotic interventional procedures.

"This entire effort represents a great collaboration between a team of Mayo clinicians and engineers with the goal of improving patient care," says Claire Bender, M.D., Mayo Clinic radiologist. "This device has improved patient care and changed our practice."

The Mayo Clinic team traveled to Munich, Germany earlier this year to work with German physicians on product testing and implementation. "The response from patients and physicians in Germany was extremely positive," says James Potter, Director of Mayo Clinic Medical Devices. "This entire project strongly reflects the Mayo brothers' mission to inspire innovation and technology that truly benefits patient care."

Revenue that Mayo Clinic receives from this device will be used to support Mayo's clinical practice, medical research and education activities. Medical centres interested in acquiring the device may contact Mayo Clinic Medical Devices at 866-677-8813 (toll free in USA) or email

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