As the leg is called "the second heart," if blood flow is interrupted due to narrowing of blood vessels caused by arteriosclerosis in the leg, it may lead to difficulty walking or even amputation of the leg. In recent years, with the increase of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, the number of cases of severe ischemia has been increasing every year. In the past, the only option would have been to immediately amputate the foot. The five-year survival rate is lower than that of some types of cancer when it leads to amputation of the lower limb. Reopening the blood flow is thus very important.
In recent years, advances in endovascular treatment have been remarkable, and catheterization has become common. There are two methods of vasodilation: vasodilatation, in which a balloon catheter is used to temporarily widen a narrowed blood vessel, and stenting, in which a metal stent is placed to physically widen the blood vessel even after surgery.
The arteries below the knee are narrower than 4 mm, and there are no suitable stents available. Our research group has been developing a stent that can be used for these small arteries below the knee. So far, we have developed a unique stent design that can ensure sufficient blood flow even when implanted in a small diameter artery. This stent is equipped with a coating that prevents thrombus and foreign body reaction, thus improving biocompatibility. Therefore, it can be safely implanted in the blood vessel and is expected to secure blood flow for a long period of time and avoid amputation of the leg.