3D Printed Guidewire with Directional Control


Guidewires are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures within the body. They can navigate tortuous vessel anatomy and provide a stable guiding structure along which a catheter is advanced. Current guidewires come in a variety of sizes, lengths, stiffness, compositions and tip shapes. Maneuvering and steering a guidewire within the body can be difficult as flexibility is needed for steering and rigidity is needed for catheter advancement. Most guidewires have a fixed stiffness and they must be exchanged if a different stiffness is required. This can cause further trauma to a patient in addition to increasing the risk of infection and adding to the overall surgery time and difficulty. Because of this, new advancements that mitigate these undesired effects are continuously sought out, particularly with respect to steerable and adjustable properties.

Prof. Jeffrey La Belle of Arizona State University has developed a novel 3D printed guidewire having directional control. This novel guidewire can be printed with means to help actively steer the device as well as real-time stiffness adjustment abilities to allow for enhanced navigation of more tortuous vessels and better catheter advancement. These abilities eliminate the need to remove and exchange the guidewire mid-procedure. The guidewire has been tested in three point bending in order to validate predictions and evaluate actual flexural properties.

This novel guidewire has advanced steering and real-time stiffness adjustment abilities for better maneuverability and catheter advancement, reduced patient trauma and decreased surgical procedure times.

Potential Applications

•       Controllable and steerable guide wire

o       Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures

o       Coronary/heart procedures

o       Vascular procedures

o       Obstetrics/Gynecology procedures

o       Gastroenterology/renal/urology procedures

o       Radiology procedures

Benefits and Advantages

•       The guidewire can be actively steered

•       The guidewire can change stiffness on demand - no need for guidewire exchanges

o       Less trauma for the patient

o       Reduced risk for infection

•       Easy manufacturing methods

•       Reduces complexity and duration of surgical procedures

•       Lessened risk for thrombus formation

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For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. La Belle’s laboratory webpage

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Jeffrey Labelle

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