In 2015, coronary heart diseases killed 7.4 million people worldwide. Additive manufacturing technologies may now hold the key to drastically reducing this number
When ill-fitting stents move in the artery, they can ultimately fail. In these cases, physicians have to somehow re-open the blocked stent or bypass it with a vascular graft. It’s a costly and risky process.
“There are cases where a physician tries to stent a patient’s blood vessel, and the fit is not good,”.“There might be geometric constraints in the patient’s vessel, such as a significant curvature that can disturb blood flow, causing traditional stents to fail. This is especially a problem for patients who have conditions that prevent the use of blood thinners, which are commonly given to patients who have stents. By printing a stent that has the exact geometric and biologic requirements of the patient’s blood vessel, we expect to minimize the probability of these complications.”
“Compared to conventional forming technology with the following laser cutting, additive manufacturing offers the possibility to produce completely new stent geometries.” The metal-based stents have been known to cause malfunctions & are not so flexible or biocompatible.
My research talks about novel materials, also called “Shape memory polymers” that can be 3D printed, carry the necessary flexibility & the shape memory effect allows for easy insertion inside the blood vessel. Shape memory polymers are capable of high elastic deformation (200%), less costly and easy to process . The first shape memory polymer, polynorbornene, was developed in the 1984s. Duke stent, made from woven poly-L-Lactic acid polymer strands, was the first biodegradable stent developed in the 1980s capable of withstanding a collapse pressure of 1-1.3 bar and maintain that strength in the saline environ. The Igaki–Tamai stent, which has a zig–zag helical coil design, was the first biodegradable stent to be implanted in humans, thickness of 0.17 mm.
3D printed stent technologies are transforming cardiovascular treatments. In May, researches in Eindhoven announced the development of 3D printed expandable, bio-degradable stents to reduce the need for invasive surgery. In March, a research group from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, published a paper on developing a multi-drug eluting stent to replace metal stents.
According to the WHO, individuals in middle to low income countries have poor access to detection and treatment for Coronary Heart Disease, while those suffering are kept in poverty via “catastrophic health spending and high out-of-pocket expenditure”.
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Our team has been working on developing this 3D printable cardiac stent with good improvements.
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