Purpose: To assess selected balloon-expandable and self-expanding stents for radial force, flexibility, radio-opacity, and trackability, and to relate these physical characteristics to potential indications for placement.
Methods: Force-strain curves were plotted for each stent and the force required to produce 50% luminal narrowing was recorded. The ability of the stent to show elastic recoil following deformation was also noted. Flexibility was measured by bending the stents against a force transducer and recording the force required per degree of flexion. Radio-opacity was measured by comparing each stent against a standard aluminum step wedge. Trackability was measured by testing the ability of the stent on its delivery system to track over angles of 90 degrees and 60 degrees.
Results: The balloon-expandable stents showed greater radial strength and radio-opacity but, apart from the AVE Iliac Bridge stent, showed poorer flexibility and trackability. The self-expanding stents showed less radial force but were able to re-expand following deformity. They were generally more flexible and had better trackability but lower radio-opacity.
Conclusion: There is no stent which exhibits all the ideal properties required and therefore the interventionist will need to keep a range of stents available if all lesions are to be addressed.