New Extrusion Techniques Advance Catheter Design

Innovative processing technologies can help designers create products that perform better and cost less.

Medical tubing used in minimally invasive devices has become increasingly sophisticated. Today’s cutting-edge devices are reaching more remote regions of the human anatomy and are used to perform greater diagnostic and interventional procedures, requiring different performance properties on the exterior and interior of the catheter shaft and along the length.

The performance characteristics necessary for catheters to reach smaller distal areas within the body include pushability, torque transmission, and flexibility. Catheters are inserted into a vascular passage from a peripheral location, such as the femoral artery. The physician advances the catheter by pushing it from the proximal end and provides direction with rotational inputs that are transmitted by way of torque from the proximal end to the advancing distal tip. At the same time, the catheter must remain flexible to navigate the complex turns and branches inherent in the vascular system... 

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