Bioabsorbable polymeric stent has been considered to be a possible remedy for occluded vessels since the long-term complications of bare metal and drug eluting stent have surfaced the water. To make the bioabsorbable polymeric stent a competitive product, polymeric stents must have equivalent mechanical and pharmaceutical functionality to metal ones. Therefore, the bioabsorbable polymeric stents need to have sufficient radial strength and axial flexibility. Stents need to be easily deployed and resistant to recoil. Stents need to be capable of carrying anti-proliferation drugs without sacrificing the mechanical properties. Seventeen patents covering the topics of the shape memory polymer, the design of self-expandable bioabsorbable and slide-and-lock polymeric stents, the design of coil fiber stents, the method to enhance the mechanical strength of stents and method to load drugs into of stents are reported in this review. Three bioabsorbable stents have been or start to be tested in small scale human clinical trials. The 9-month to 4-year follow up results revealed the feasibility and clinical safety of using bioabsorbable polymeric stents. It is foreseeable that more effort will be involved in the future stent commercialization.
Keywords: Bioabsorbable, polymeric, stent, drug eluting stent (DES), balloon-expandable, self-expandable, shape memory polymer
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