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According to a GlobalData report, United States Coronary Guidewires 2015-2030, the cardiovascular devices market will experience steady growth in the forecast period. In most countries, growth will be driven by the increasing burden of coronary heart disease (CHD) and the rising usage of non-surgical treatment methods such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures.

The CDC states that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. In 2020, 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease, equating to one in every five deaths. High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key factors that increase the risk of heart disease, which can be influenced by age, genetic factors, and lifestyle.

Guidewires for cardiovascular treatments

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.

According to the GlobalData report, PCI is growing because of its minimally invasive nature and lower rate of complications. It reduces angina and urgent hospital admission, as well as lowering the risk of another heart attack. The success rate of coronary guidewires is mainly dependent on the surgeon’s experience and skill, however upcoming advancements in guidewire technologies are incorporating micro sensors and fiber optics to provide real-time feedback. The minimally invasive surgical instruments market overall is expected to grow, especially as innovations in surgical robots continue.

The report goes on to state that the miniaturisation of coronary guidewire components and advanced research in novel materials and guidewire design has led to the introduction of guidewires which can accurately measure the fractional flow reserve (FFR) and instant flow reserve rates (iFR), as well as deliver high energy shock waves from within the coronary arteries to treat chronic total occlusions (CTO). Technological developments in the tips of the coronary guidewires have widened the scope of applications from diagnostics to therapeutic settings.

To make them suitable for these surgeries, guidewires must offer excellent biocompatibility, moderate tensile strength, and good corrosion resistance, as well as moderate fatigue and relaxation resistance. They also must be flexible and have coatings that offer the lubricity to easily manoeuvre around the body.

Under its Exera® trademark, Alleima (formely Sandvik Materials Technology) has designed and developed wire used in guidewires across the globe. Recently, through the acquisition of Polyfil (experts in fine-wire manufacturing) and Galvarex (experts in surface treatments and electroplating), Alleima has expanded its production capabilities in Europe.

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 a 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 Alleima offers a range of surface treatments, including Polyimide and PTFE coatings with thickness ranges from 0.00127mm to 0.0127mm.