Cardiovascular diseases are a major public health concern. In some cases, metallic stents offer a means to keep blood flowing to the heart. Inflatable stents, on the other hand, could provide a more comfortable, conformable alternative.
In Advanced Functional Materials, Profs. Simon Dunham and Bobak Mosadegh, along with their co-workers from the Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging (ICI) at NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical (WCM) College, develop inflatable stents for a wide range of endovascular treatments.
Dr. Amir Ali Amiri Moghadam: “Taking inspiration from soft robotics, we have developed soft stents that can inflate inside arteries after being deployed via a catheter.”
The softness of the materials is attributed to the use of sandwiched sheets of thermoplastic polyurethane with poly(vinylalcohol) (PVA), which are heat-sealed together. A continuous honeycomb structure is laser-cut into the PVA to aid uniform inflation of the stent.
Dr. Sayedhamidreza Alaie: “Our design protocol for inflatable stents provides a proof-of-principle that can be adapted for other applications where conformability to the surrounding tissue is advantageous, for example, an inflatable heart valve.”