Guidewires are an essential component of various diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures for vascular therapy. They are flexible, precisely controlled wires that are used to access the coronary and peripheral vascular system and are commonly used for placing and guiding devices such as balloon dilation catheters during percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).

As a minimally invasive technique for accessing blood vessels, once the tip of the wire reaches the treatment site, it is used to guide catheters to the intended area of the body. To do this safely and efficiency, guidewires must offer excellent biocompatibility, moderate tensile strength, good corrosion resistance, as well as moderate fatigue and relaxation resistance. They must be flexible and have coatings that offer the lubricity to easily manoeuvre around the body.

The portfolio of medical wire products from Sandvik branded Exera® includes more than 200 metals and metal alloys, along with various surface treatments, including coatings and configurations in order to offer medical device manufacturers fully customised medical wire components, including devices used to treat cardiovascular, endovascular and peripheral vascular disorders, such as guidewires, catheters and pacemaker leads. Drawing on extensive experience in metallurgy, Sandvik offers expert advice in product development and material selection.

Materials that have proven to be effective for guidewires include austenitic stainless steels Exera® 12R10 HV (moderate tensile strength, good corrosion resistance, moderate fatigue and relaxation resistance) and molybdenum-alloyed high-strength vacuum-remelted Exera® 316LVM (excellent micro-cleanliness and structural homogeneity) medical wire. Exera® cored medical wire (SBCW) is also used, which is composite wire that combines Exera® F562 medical wire CoCrMo (MP35N) alloy shell and a secondary alloy as the core material to achieve excellent corrosion and fatigue resistance.

In order to reduce friction, coronary guidewires are coated with lubricious materials. Sandvik offers a range of surface treatments, including Polyimide and PTFE coatings with thickness ranges from 0.00127mm to 0.0127mm.

For more information about EXERA fine medical wire-components, including available materials and surface treatments, download the white paper below.