A steering mechanism including a steering shaft coupled to a controller which includes a handle and apparatus for manipulating the distal end of the steering shaft. The steering shaft includes a flexible coiled spring having a lead spring fixed in position with respect to a distal end thereof in the distal end of the steering shaft. One or more steering wires is affixed at the distal ends thereof to the lead spring. The steering wires extend through the steering shaft to the controller, and the steering apparatus of the controller is used to place tension on one or both of the steering wires. The attachment of the distal ends of the steering wires to the lead spring may be opposite one another or may be offset for providing greater maneuverability. Tension may be placed on the steering wires by wedges mounted transversely to the controller housing, or by rotation of a shaft mounted transversely to the controller housing, the steering wires being attached to the shaft such that rotation in one direction tenses one steering sire, and rotation in the other direction tenses the other steering wire. Two independently rotatable shafts may be used to separately control the two steering wires.
The steering shaft is adapted for insertion into a lumen of a catheter for use in guiding the distal end of the catheter to a treatment site within a patient. The steering mechanism may also be used in conjunction with tools or apparatus which must reach into difficult locations, such as engines or other machines.