Background: Oversized postdilation of drug-eluting stents (DES) is often performed to avoid stent malapposition. In stents implanted in long lesion or major bifurcations, extremely oversized partial postdilation may be required, which exposes DES coating to extreme forces. This study aims to assess shape and incidence of coating irregularities on durable polymer-based DES following extremely oversized partial postdilatation.
Methods: Fifteen DES samples (3 3.5 mm stents of Cypher Select plus [Cordis Europa, Roden, the Netherlands], Taxus Liberté[Boston Scientific Corp., Natick, MA, USA], Endeavor Sprint [Medtronic Vascular, Santa Rosa, CA, USA], Endeavor Resolute [Medtronic Vascular, Santa Rosa, CA, USA], and Xience V [Abbott Vascular, Santa Clara, CA, USA]) were deployed in sterile water (37 °C) at 14 atm, followed by a proximal postdilation with noncompliant 5.0-mm balloons at 18 atm. Stents were then examined with scanning electron microscopy.
Results: Thorough examination of a total of 660 scanning electron microscopic images demonstrated that shape and incidence of coating irregularities in the postdilated and/or transitional DES regions differed only mildly from the nonpostdilated regions. Cypher Select plus showed more peeling without bare metal aspect in the postdilated and transitional regions, and cracks were wider (P < 0.001) in the postdilated and transitional regions; in Taxus Liberté one additional irregularity (torn webbing) and more wrinkles were observed (P < 0.05 for both); in Endeavor Resolute wider cracks were found in the extremely postdilated region only (P < 0.001). Endeavor Sprint and Xience V showed no differences in shape or incidence of coating irregularities between oversized and nonoversized stent regions.
Conclusions: Bench side assessment of five contemporary durable polymer-based DES with scanning electron microscopy suggests that even very aggressive stent postdilatation results in no more than mild differences in coating irregularities between postdilated and nonpostdilated stent regions.