The purpose of this study was to develop a standard 0.014-inch intravascular magnetic resonance imaging guidewire (MRIG), a coaxial cable with an extension of the inner conductor, specifically designed for use in the small vessels. After a theoretical analysis, the 0.014-inch MRIG was built by plating/cladding highly electrically conductive materials, silver or gold, over the inside and outside of the coaxial conductors. The conductors were made of superelastic, nonmagnetic, biocompatible materials, Nitinol or MP35N. Then, in comparison with a previously designed 0.032-inch MRIG, the performance of the new 0.014-inch MRIG in vitro and in vivo was successfully evaluated. This study represents the initial work to confirm the critical role of highly conductive and superelastic materials in building such small-size MRIGs, which are expected to generate high-resolution MR imaging of vessel walls/plaques and guide endovascular interventional procedures in the small vessels, such as the coronary arteries.
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