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A Coronary Catheter System


Summer 2018

Medical Device Innovation

ArtCenter College of Design x UCLA

The Kathos Catheter is a catheter system with a sleeve that accepts customizable inserts to conform the distal tip. This innovative catheter gives the practitioner varying control over the distal, secondary and tertiary tip, allowing for quicker and more efficient procedures. We estimate that if implemented into the cardiologists' workflow, they would be able to save roughly 10 minutes per procedure, allowing for 1-2 more procedures per day.


Industrial Designing, Concept Development, 3d Printing, 3d Modelling, 3d Rendering, Rapid Prototyping


Michael Kertzner / MD

Calvin Brown / PHD Computer Engineering

Gerardo Franco, / M.S. Mechanical Engineering

Jack Fernandes / MBA


Jeff Higashi - Instructor

Dr. Wentai Liu - Instructor



Saving Time in the Operating Room

Our mission was to design a catheter system to ease cardiology procedures and save time in the operating room, creating a system that could be more efficient.

Field Research 


We interviewed Peter Hanna, MD, Cardiology Fellow, PGY-5, Specialty Training, and Advanced Research (STAR) Program and Pradeep S. Rajendran, Ph.D., UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, David Geffen School of Medicine.

They were able to donate the most commonly used catheters, as well as help the team gains a better understanding of what the cardiologist would want when dealing with coronary catheterizations.

Causes leading to requiring catheterization:

Obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Identifying and Evaluating Needs

After preliminary qualitative research, the team soon realized there are several unmet needs in the catheter field.

Control the Orientation 

According to the practitioners we interviewed, they are looking for a way to control the orientation of the vascular catheter to allow navigation through tortuous vasculature.

Parking the Catheter

 Physicians also have trouble parking the catheter on the coronary artery.

Saving Time

Cardiac catheterization procedures become complicated and time consuming to perform, requiring multiple trials of different catheters and adjustments to navigate vasculature.



Coronary Flow Physical Indicator

a. Eg. streamers, flags, tassels, feather like lattice

b. Reduce contrast induced nephropathy (need #6) and reduce hypersensitivity reactions

c. Quicker to spot coronary arteries out of aorta


Thermal bending

a. Bimetallic strip, shape-memory alloy, shape-memory polymer, electroactive polymers

b. Use electricity, N2O

c. Hand controls for physician


Oval cross sectional area

a. Directional stabilization in bending

b. broad application to interventional procedures



a. For facilitation of delivery and implementation of multiple simultaneous approaches

b. Analogy: Flexible Claw Pick Up Tool Automotive Mechanic (multiple lanes of traffic?)


Origami Inspired Catheter

a. Catheter expands/conforms to desired shape for efficient use of space


Sourcing Tubings

We sourced catheter tubing directly from the manufacturers. We were working on a scale of 6-8 French, the most commonly used sizes of catheters, in order to ensure realistic testing. 

Catheter Construction

Helping hands, heat guns, soldering stations and wire strippers allowed us to work on the small scale that catheters operate.


PTFE mandrels act as a removable core for the base liner and braiding reinforcement/additional sleeve layers to bond to each other. The outermost layer is composed of a peel-able heat shrink. 

We hand milled a custom designed jig that allowed us to evenly heat fuse the materials together. 

3D Printing 

We 3d printed a variety of heart models, including human scale sized aortal cross sections with the coronary arterial entrances to allow for navigation and user testing of our catheter concepts. 

Final Product

Our system allows for a catheter with a side lumen integrated into the luminal chamber to adjust the tip with a pre-bent insert, allowing for a more efficient procedure.

A coronary catheter allows practitioners to easily adjust the distal tip of the catheter. Current procedures require the practitioner to remove the catheter and reinsert an entirely separate catheter.


Pre-bent inserts come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are disposed of post-surgery. 

Final Presentation 

We presented the Kathos catheter to doctors, venture capitalists, as well as guests from the UCLA hospital to give valuable feedback and critique our proposed system. 

As we finished the class, we made sure to file a provisional patent to protect our work.

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