Philips has unveiled LumiGuide, which allows physicians to navigate blood vessels using light instead of X-ray, powered by Fiber Optic RealShape (FORS) technology.

“[It’s] one of the most exciting changes that we’ve seen with imaging certainly throughout my career,” says Andres Schanzer, MD, FACS, DFSVS, a vascular surgeon at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. In late 2023, LumiGuide was used for the first time to treat patients in Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, followed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Developed collaboratively with clinical partners, LumiGuide is initially accessible to major Aortic Centers of Excellence specializing in complex aortic repairs across the U.S. and Europe.

LumiGuide’s radiation-free technology presents notable benefits for complex aortic procedures. In vascular surgery, physicians often perform endovascular procedures using tools like guidewires and catheters, typically through the femoral artery. This method, also known as endovascular surgery, has historically relied solely on X-ray guidance, which poses risks due to radiation exposure and provides only 2D images. As physicians now handle more complex cases, such as aortic aneurysm repairs, procedures take longer, increasing radiation exposure for both patients and medical staff.

Moreover, LumiGuide uses light reflected along an optical fiber inside a guidewire to generate 3D, high- resolution, color images of devices, including off-the-shelf catheters, inside a patient’s body in real time, from any angle and in multiple views. It means that physicians know which direction their device is facing and can see where they need to go. This navigation can be done all without X-ray. 

“If we can see more, we can proceed more quickly and more confidently,” says Atul Gupta, MD, chief medical officer for image-guided therapy and precision diagnosis at Philips and practicing interventional radiologist. “In effect, LumiGuide is a 3D human GPS system powered by light.” 

LumiGuide, designed to work with Philips interventional systems like Azurion, is the second-generation application of FORS. Developed based on feedback from initial devices at nine centers, LumiGuide introduces new time-saving features. It automates guidewire registration using AI-based recognition, simplifying the process for physicians who only need to confirm the wire’s registration.

Geert Willem Schurink, MD, a vascular surgeon at Maastricht University Medical Center, who performed the first surgical procedure with LumiGuide, says, “This AI-based semi-automatic registration is very quick and accurate, even in the presence of stent grafts. Especially, if there is a need to re-register the device being guided in the patient’s body during the procedure, it is extremely helpful.” Next, LumiGuide will facilitate Philips and clinical partners in collecting additional clinical data on its performance at current sites, paving the way for its global availability.