EXPANDABLE MEDICAL DEVICE WITH
IMPROVED SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
This application is a continuation of pending U.S. application Ser. No. 10/849,324, filed May 19, 2004, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 09/948,987, filed Sep. 7, 2001, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,764,507 which claims priority to U.S. Provi- 10 sional Application Ser. No. 60/314,360, filed Aug. 20, 2001, each of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 15
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to tissue-supporting medical devices, and more particularly to expandable, non-removable devices that are implanted within a bodily lumen of a living 20 animal or human to support the organ and maintain patency, and that have improved spatial distribution for delivery of a beneficial agent to the intervention site.
2. Summary of the Related Art 25 In the past, permanent or biodegradable devices have been
developed for implantation within a body passageway to maintain patency of the passageway. These devices are typically introduced percutaneously, and transported transluminally until positioned at a desired location. These devices are 30 then expanded either mechanically, such as by the expansion of a mandrel or balloon positioned inside the device, or expand themselves by releasing stored energy upon actuation within the body. Once expanded within the lumen, these devices, called stents, become encapsulated within the body 35 tissue and remain a permanent implant.
Known stent designs include monofilament wire coil stents (U.S. Pat. No. 4,969,458); welded metal cages (U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,733,665 and 4,776,337); and, most prominently, thinwalled metal cylinders with axial slots formed around the 40 circumference (U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,733,665; 4,739,762; and 4,776,337). Known construction materials for use in stents include polymers, organic fabrics and biocompatible metals, such as, stainless steel, gold, silver, tantalum, titanium, and shape memory alloys such as Nitinol. 45
U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,733,665; 4,739,762; and 4,776,337 disclose expandable and deformable interluminal vascular grafts in the form of thin-walled tubular members with axial slots allowing the members to be expanded radially outwardly into contact with a body passageway. After insertion, the tubular 50 members are mechanically expanded beyond their elastic limit and thus permanently fixed within the body. U.S. Pat. No. 5,545,210 discloses a thin-walled tubular stent geometrically similar to those discussed above, but constructed of a nickel-titanium shape memory alloy ("Nitinol"), which can 55 be permanently fixed within the body without exceeding its elastic limit. All of these stents share a critical design property: in each design, the features that undergo permanent deformation during stent expansion are prismatic, i.e., the cross sections of these features remain constant or change 60 very gradually along their entire active length. These prismatic structures are ideally suited to providing large amounts of elastic deformation before permanent deformation commences, which in turn leads to sub-optimal device performance in important properties including stent expansion 65 force, stent recoil, strut element stability, stent securement on delivery catheters and radiopacity.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,241,762 which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, discloses a non-prismatic stent design which remedies the above mentioned performance deficiencies of previous stents. In addition, preferred embodiments of this patent provide a stent with large, non-deforming strut and link elements, which can contain holes without compromising the mechanical properties of the strut or link elements, or the device as a whole. Further, these holes may serve as large, protected reservoirs for delivering various beneficial agents to the device implantation site.
Of the many problems that may be addressed through stent-based local delivery of beneficial agents, one of the most important is restenosis. Restenosis is a major complication that can arise following vascular interventions such as angioplasty and the implantation of stents. Simply defined, restenosis is a wound healing process that reduces the vessel lumen diameter by extracellular matrix deposition and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and which may ultimately result in renarrowing or even reocclusion of the lumen. Despite the introduction of improved surgical techniques, devices and pharmaceutical agents, the overall restenosis rate is still reported in the range of 25% to 50% within six to twelve months after an angioplasty procedure. To treat this condition, additional revascularization procedures are frequently required, thereby increasing trauma and risk to the patient.
Several techniques under development to address the problem of restenosis are irradiation of the injury site and the use of conventional stents to deliver a variety of beneficial or pharmaceutical agents to the traumatized vessel lumen. In the latter case, a conventional stent is frequently surface-coated with a beneficial agent (often a drug-impregnated polymer) and implanted at the angioplasty site. Alternatively, an external drug-impregnated polymer sheath is mounted over the stent and co-deployed in the vessel.
While acute outcomes from radiation therapies appeared promising initially, long term beneficial outcomes have been limited to restenosis occurring within a previously implanted stent, so-called 'in-stent'restenosis. Radiation therapies have not been effective for preventing restenosis in de novo lesions. Polymer sheaths that span stent struts have also proven problematic in human clinical trials due to the danger of blocking flow to branch arteries, incomplete apposition of stent struts to arterial walls and otherproblems. Unacceptably high levels of MACE (Major Adverse Cardiac Events that include death, heart attack, or the need for a repeat angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery) have resulted in early termination of clinical trials for sheath covered stents.
Conventional stents with surface coatings of varius beneficial agents, by contrast, have shown promising early results. U.S. Pat. No. 5,716,981, for example, discloses a stent that is surface-coated with a composition comprising a polymer carrier and paclitaxel (a well-known compound that is commonly used in the treatment of cancerous tumors). The patent offers detailed descriptions of methods for coating stent surfaces, such as spraying and dipping, as well as the desired character of the coating itself: it should "coat the stent smoothly and evenly" and "provide a uniform, predictable, prolonged release of the anti-angiogenic factor." Surface coatings, however, can provide little actual control over the release kinetics of beneficial agents. These coatings are necessarily very thin, typically 5 to 8 microns deep. The surface area of the stent, by comparison is very large, so that the entire volume of the beneficial agent has a very short diffusion path to discharge into the surrounding tissue. The resulting cumulative drug release profile is characterized by a large initial