Stents are small tubes or tubular shaped meshes which are used to keep or rebuild the luminal size of passages in the human body like coronary arteries or the esophagus. They are most commonly used in the treatment of stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessels). Stents can be utilized as implants or in conjunction with an angioplasty (a technique for widening narrowed arteries). One of the most common complications when using stents is in-stent restenosis and stent loss. In-stent restenosis is the renarrowing of the implanted stent which occurs in ~ 30 % of all cases.<br><br> To prevent restenosis drug eluting stents have been developed. This has been a success to a certain extent, but a big problem of drug eluting stents are the late effects, such as increased risk of bleeding, acute intoxication and the formation of tumors <br><br> <strong>Technology</strong><br> This novel microstructured polymer stents are made of a shape memory polymer (e.g. polyurethane). Below body temperature the shape memory polymer stent has a compressed geometry (temporary form, see left figure). When heating the shape memory polymer stent on body temperature the stent turns into an uncompressed geometry (predefined permanent form, see right figure). <br><br>
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