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J Biomed Mater Res. 2001;58(1):69-74.

Residual stresses in coronary artery stents.

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Hahn-Meitner-Institut, Bereich Strukturforschung, Glienicker Str. 100, 14109 Berlin, Germany.


In western industrial countries, coronary heart disease is the most common cause of death. The reason is a coronary sclerosis, which by the generation of plaques narrows the inner lumen of an artery and, thus, deteriorates the blood supply. This leads to symptoms like burning pain or increased pressure in the chest, and finally to an under supply and damage of the heart muscle. In order to keep those portions of arteries that are covered by a plaque open, the stent technique was developed in the 1980s and is increasingly used since about 13 years. These stents are usually made of wires or of a slotted tube and are of two kinds: self-expanding and balloon expanding. Both types are implanted after being mounted on a catheter and expanded in the desired position. Self-expanding stents make use of the elastic deformation, while the other group of stents are expanded by a balloon, which brings about a plastic deformation of certain regions of the stent structure. Thus, after implantation, parts of these stents undergo two steps of distinct plastic deformation. First during compression, which is necessary for the mounting procedure on the catheter (crimping), and second during expansion for implantation. In this article, the residual stresses generated during crimping and expansion are presented and discussed. These stresses are stored in the structure of a portion of a stent after implantation and are superimposed on those stresses generated by the more than 700 million cyclic heart beats during the patient's life. This work is a part of several interdisciplinary research projects by the authors in order to gain reliable fail-safe criteria for the static and cyclic mechanical properties of coronary stents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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