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Mechanical Behavior Of Coronary Stents Investigated Through The Finite Element Method.

Francesco Migliavacca, Lorenza Petrini, Maurizio Colombo, Ferdinando Auricchio, Riccardo Pietrabissa
Published 2002 · Engineering, Medicine
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Intravascular stents are small tube-like structures expanded into stenotic arteries to restore blood flow perfusion to the downstream tissues. The stent is mounted on a balloon catheter and delivered to the site of blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands and is pressed against the inner wall of the coronary artery. After the balloon is deflated and removed, the stent remains in place, keeping the artery open. Hence, the stent expansion defines the effectiveness of the surgical procedure: it depends on the stent geometry, it includes large displacements and deformations and material non-linearity. In this paper, the finite element method is applied (i) to understand the effects of different geometrical parameters (thickness, metal-to-artery surface ratio, longitudinal and radial cut lengths) of a typical diamond-shaped coronary stent on the device mechanical performance, (ii) to compare the response of different actual stent models when loaded by internal pressure and (iii) to collect suggestions for optimizing the device shape and performance. The stent expansion and partial recoil under balloon inflation and deflation were simulated. Results showed the influence of the geometry on the stent behavior: a stent with a low metal-to-artery surface ratio has a higher radial and longitudinal recoil, but a lower dogboning. The thickness influences the stent performance in terms of foreshortening, longitudinal recoil and dogboning. In conclusion, a finite element analysis similar to the one herewith proposed could help in designing new stents or analyzing actual stents to ensure ideal expansion and structural integrity, substituting in vitro experiments often difficult and unpractical.

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