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Novel Embolization Device Uses Shape Memory Technology

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 20 Aug 2018
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Image: Compressed and expanded SMP plugs (Photo courtesy of Todd Landsman/ Shape Memory Medical).
Image: Compressed and expanded SMP plugs (Photo courtesy of Todd Landsman/ Shape Memory Medical).
A new compressible embolization plug expands to its pre-determined shape once correctly positioned in the peripheral vasculature.

The Shape Memory Medical (Santa Clara, CA, USA) Impede embolization plug is based on shape memory polymer (SMP) foams, porous polymeric materials capable of changing from one shape to a second ‘memorized’ shape upon a change of environment. The ultra-low density SMP polyurethane formulation and pore sizes can be modified by changing branched hydroxyl monomers, creating materials with a wide range of different properties. Once SMP foam has been formed into its primary expanded shape, it can be crimped to a convenient secondary shape.

The SMP foams can be made thin enough to be inserted into blood vessels via catheters, and once in place, expand either on a time-release basis or under pre-specified conditions (such as heat or stress) in order to recover the primary expanded shape. According to the developers, Impede can be used to replace current embolization technologies, which generally employ metal coils (most often made of platinum) that may tear through the walls of the blood vessels and lead to further complications, such as hemorrhaging.

“Seeing Impede used to treat patients that would be otherwise untreatable with current technologies is an engineer's dream outcome. I am very grateful to the many people that have participated in and supported this work,” said Professor Duncan Maitland, PhD, founder of Shape Memory Medical, who developed much of the technology behind the device at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA, USA), and later at the Texas A&M University (TAMU; College Station, TX, USA).

Embolization is a technique commonly used to treat a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions in the peripheral vasculature, including aneurysms, endoleaks, hemorrhage, tumors, vascular anomalies, varicoceles and pelvic congestion syndrome.

Related Links:
Shape Memory Medical
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Texas A&M University

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