Review on Stent Materials

Simulated Stent

Biodegradable Stent

Metallic stents are commonly used to promote revascularization and maintain patency of plaqued or damaged arteries following balloon angioplasty. To mitigate the long-term side effects associated with corrosion-resistant stents (i.e. chronic inflammation and late stage thrombosis), a new generation of so-called “bioabsorbable” stents is currently being developed. The bioabsorbable coronary stents will corrode and be absorbed by the artery after completing their task as vascular scaffolding. Research spanning the last two decades has focused on biodegradable polymeric, iron-based, and magnesium-based stent materials. The inherent mechanical and surface properties of metals make them more attractive stent material candidates than their polymeric counterparts. Unfortunately, iron produces a voluminous, retained oxide product in the arterial wall, whereas magnesium and its alloys corrode too rapidly. A third class of metallic bioabsorbable materials that are based on zinc has been introduced in the last few years. As summarized in this contribution, this new zinc-based class of materials demonstrates the potential for an absorbable metallic stent with the mechanical and biodegradation characteristics required for optimal stent performance. They appear to be free of flaws that limit the application of iron- and magnesium-based alloys, and polymers. In the new review article entitled “Biodegradable Metals for Cardiovascular Stents: from Clinical Concerns to Recent Zn-Alloys” published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, we compare bioabsorbable materials and summarize progress towards bioabsorbable stents. We emphasize on current understanding of physiological and biological benefits of zinc and its biocompatibility. Finally, our review provides an outlook on challenges in designing zinc-based stents of optimal mechanical properties and biodegradation rate.

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