Aims: Simple surface modifications can enhance coronary stent performance. Ultra-hydrophilic surface (UHS) treatment of contemporary bare metal stents (BMS) was assessed in vivo to verify whether such stents can provide long-term efficacy comparable to second-generation drug-eluting stents (DES) while promoting healing comparably to BMS.
Methods and results: UHS-treated BMS, untreated BMS and corresponding DES were tested for three commercial platforms. A thirty-day and a 90-day porcine coronary model were used to characterise late tissue response. Three-day porcine coronary and seven-day rabbit iliac models were used for early healing assessment. In porcine coronary arteries, hydrophilic treatment reduced intimal hyperplasia relative to the BMS and corresponding DES platforms (1.5-fold to threefold reduction in 30-day angiographic and histological stenosis; p<0.04). Endothelialisation was similar on UHS-treated BMS and untreated BMS, both in swine and rabbit models, and lower on DES. Elevation in thrombotic indices was infrequent (never observed with UHS, rare with BMS, most often with DES), but, when present, correlated with reduced endothelialisation (p<0.01).
Conclusions: Ultra-hydrophilic surface treatment of contemporary stents conferred good healing while moderating neointimal and thrombotic responses. Such surfaces may offer safe alternatives to DES, particularly when rapid healing and short dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) are crucial.