Purpose: We have previously developed and reported an ultrasound based real-time tracking system for renal stones. In the current study we continued to verify the reliability of this tracking system by a simulated animal test. Materials and Methods: We used 13 prerecorded ultrasound stone trajectories to test the system. The real-time tracking system was implemented on the Litemed 9200 electrohydraulic lithotriptor (LiteMed Co., Taipei, Taiwan). An artificial stone and tap water were sealed in a balloon. The balloon was inserted into the pelvis of a pig kidney. While the kidney was affixed to and moved by a simulator, it was immersed in a specifically designed simulated animal model tank containing tap water. The stone was localized by ultrasound. The kidney was moved by the simulator according to a prerecorded stone trajectory. A total of 3,000 shock waves were delivered to the stone. For each recorded stone trajectory experiments were done under nontracking and tracking conditions. We performed tests of the fragment-to-weight ratio, which denotes the performance of a shock wave lithotriptor when fragmenting a stone. Results: The mean fragment-to-weight ratio was 55.3% ± 25.9% in the nontracking and 100% ± 0% in the tracking group. The difference in these 2 groups was statistically significant (paired t test p < 0.01). Conclusions: The ultrasound based real-time tracking system proved to improve the performance of a shock wave lithotriptor significantly when fragmenting stones in a simulated animal test. We believe that the tracking system would greatly reduce the number of shocks and time needed for treating renal stones.
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