Temporary or permanent tracheal splinting in pediatric patients may be indicated in tracheomalacia or bronchomalacia, repair of congenital tracheal stenosis, and after tracheal resection. This study presents the results of the development of a new intraluminal airway stent made from titanium alloy, a metal with 'shape memory effect.' At low temperatures (martensitic state) the titanium alloy stent can be fashioned into a specific shape; then when heated to a higher temperature (austenitic state) the stent alters its shape, only to regain its original shape when recooled to the lower temperature. The stent, connected to a small electric power supply, was introduced into 20 young rabbits with the use of a 2.5 cm rigid bronchoscope. After implantation in the martensitic state the stent was warmed to 40°C, the austenitic state, by an electric current of 1.5 to 3 ampere for 1 to 2 seconds. After a period of 8 to 10 weeks the stent was removed (in its martensitic state) through the same-sized bronchoscope after being cooled with 3 to 4 ml of 80% alcohol solution at 6°C. No signs of airway obstruction developed in any of the animals after implantation or extraction of the stent. The biomechanical properties of the trachea, as shown by strain measurements with the use of incremental forces, showed significant differences between the stented and unstented segments (p < 0.005). The titanium alloy intratracheal stent adequately fulfilled the requirements of a temporary intraluminal airway splint, and because of its unique feature of shape memory effect the stent could be inserted, fixed, and removed easily, even in very small airways.
I., V., B., K., T., B., M., W., Y., F., & Z., N. (1994). A new intratracheal stent made from nitinol, an alloy with “shape memory effect.” Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 107(5), 1255–1261. Retrieved from http://www.embase.com/search/results?subaction=viewrecord&from=export&id=L24149893 http://sfx.library.uu.nl/utrecht?sid=EMBASE&issn=00225223&id=doi:&atitle=A+new+intratracheal+stent+made+from+nitinol%2C+an+alloy+with+%27shape+memory+effect%27&stitle=J.+TH