(19)
(11)EP 2 018 137 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 07777222.6

(22)Date of filing:  18.05.2007
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61F 2/95(2013.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2007/012199
(87)International publication number:
WO 2007/136866 (29.11.2007 Gazette  2007/48)

(54)

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR LOADING A STENT

VORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN ZUR LADUNG EINES STENTS

DISPOSITIF ET PROCÉDÉ DE CHARGEMENT D'ENDOPROTHÈSE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
DE GB IE

(30)Priority: 19.05.2006 US 437455

(43)Date of publication of application:
28.01.2009 Bulletin 2009/05

(73)Proprietor: Boston Scientific Limited
Hamilton HM11 (BM)

(72)Inventor:
  • LEANNA, Gary, J.
    Holden, MA 01520 (US)

(74)Representative: Vossius & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB 
Siebertstrasse 3
81675 München
81675 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A-01/35861
US-A- 5 749 921
US-A1- 2004 122 503
WO-A1-99/59503
US-A1- 2003 225 445
US-B1- 6 702 845
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] This invention relates to a method and system for transporting and loading a stent, as well as to stent delivery assemblies. More particularly, this invention relates to methods and systems for transferring a stent from a radially expanded state to a radially compressed state prior to surgical implantation.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] An intraluminary prosthesis is a medical device used in the treatment of diseased bodily lumens. One type of intraluminary prosthesis used in the repair and/or treatment of diseases in various body vessels is a stent. A stent is generally a longitudinal tubular device formed of biocompatible material which is useful to open and support various lumens in the body. For example, stents may be used in the bodily vessel, such as in the coronary or peripheral vasculature, esophagus, trachea, bronchi colon, biliary tract, urinary tract, prostate, brain, as well as in a variety of other applications in the body. These devices are implanted within the vessel to open and/or reinforce collapsing or partially occluded sections of the lumen.

    [0003] Stents generally include an open flexible configuration. This configuration allows the stent to be inserted through curved vessels. Furthermore, this configuration allows the stent to be configured in a radially compressed state for intraluminary catheter implantation. Once properly positioned adjacent the damaged vessel, the stent is radially expanded so as to support and reinforce the vessel. Radial expansion of the stent may be accomplished by inflation of a balloon attached to the catheter or the stent may be of the self-expanding variety which will radially expand once deployed. Tubular shaped structures, which have been used as intraluminary vascular stents, have included helically wound coils which may have undulations or zig-zags therein, slotted stents, ring stents, braided stents and open mesh wire/filament stents, to name a few. Super-elastic materials and metallic shape memory materials have also been used to form stents.

    [0004] Although stent delivery systems are well-known in the art, the assembly of such delivery systems is often complicated. Additionally, contemporary Endoscopy practitioners increasingly use plastic self-expanding stents. Unlike most metallic self-expanding stents, the plastic ones have a tendency to permanently deform or lose some of their ability to self-expand when stored in a compressed state for a prolonged period of time. These stents are therefore preferably loaded into the stent delivery system shortly before being implanted in a patient. However, such loading often involves numerous steps and requires the use of multiple components (e.g., tools and fixtures) that are not part of the stent delivery system. Also, even with these added devices, the physician or user is often required to finish the loading process by pushing the stent into the delivery system by hand. Loading a stent in this way is therefore often difficult, time-consuming and has the potential to damage the stent. Accordingly, there is a need for simplified methods of on-site loading of a stent into stent delivery systems, while minimizing the risk of damaging the stent in the process.

    [0005] US 5 749 921 A discloses an endoluminal prosthesis system generally comprising a tubular body and a radially compressible endoluminal prosthesis. The tubular body includes a lumen, while the prosthesis has a proximal end with a plurality of engageable structures radially disbursed thereabout. Each of a plurality of filaments extends distally from the lumen of the tubular body to an engageable structure so that tensioning of the filaments radially compresses the proximal end of the prosthesis.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0006] The present invention as disclosed in the appended claims is directed to a system for delivering a self-expanding stent into a body lumen. Any method disclosed herein that includes at least one surgical step does not form part of the invention as claimed. In particular, the present invention relates to an assembly for protecting, loading and delivering a stent and a method for loading a stent in combination with a stent delivery catheter, as well as to overall stent delivery systems.

    [0007] In one aspect of the present invention an assembly for delivering a self-expanding stent into a body lumen comprises a catheter adapted to deliver the self-expanding stent. The catheter has a stent delivery passage adapted to contain the stent in an at least partially radially compressed state and a stent transfer member communicating with a distal end of the catheter. The stent transfer member has a first cylindrical passage sized to circumferentially surround at least a portion of the stent in an at least partially radially expanded state. Also, the stent transfer member includes a tapered passage disposed between the cylindrical passage and the delivery passage to radially compress the stent as the stent moves from the cylindrical passage into the tapered passage. A thread-like coupling can limit movement between the stent and at least portion of the catheter. Additionally, the thread-like coupling can be removably secured to one end of the stent. The stent transfer member can include a second cylindrical passage sized to engage the distal end of the catheter. Also, the stent transfer member can be formed from at least two portions to allow insertion of the stent into the cylindrical passage. The cylindrical passage and/or the tapered passage can have radially protruding ribs adapted to engage the stent disposed therein. Further, the cylindrical passage can be sized to surround the entire length of the stent. The tapered passage can define a first larger diameter and a second smaller diameter. The second smaller diameter is substantially equal to the diameter of the stent delivery passage.

    [0008] In yet another aspect of the invention an apparatus for delivering a self-expanding stent within a body lumen comprises a delivery catheter, a transfer member and a coupling means. The delivery catheter is for delivering the stent. The transfer member is removeably engagable with a distal end of the delivery catheter. Also, the transfer member has a funnel-shaped passage for compressing a stent from an at least partially radially expanded state to an at least partially radially compressed state when the stent is moved through the passage and into at least a portion of the delivery catheter. The coupling means is for manipulating the stent through the passage. Also, the coupling means is adapted to be attached to the stent and at least one portion of the delivery catheter. The transfer member can include a cylindrical passage circumferentially enclosing at least a portion of the stent in the expanded state. Also, the cylindrical passage can be sized to surround the entire length of the stent. Additionally, the delivery catheter can comprise an elongate flexible shaft having a stent holder or frictional member at its distal end for restraining axial movement of the stent when the stent is in the compressed state, and an elongate tube adapted to enter the body lumen, the tube moveably disposed over a portion of the shaft. Further, the coupling means can be selected from the group consisting of sutures, threads, cords, filaments and wires. Further still, the coupling means can pass through a supplemental passage in at least a portion of the flexible shaft. The at least one portion of the delivery catheter can include a handle, the handle being secured to the proximal end of the flexible shaft. The handle can include a securing mechanism for removeably securing the coupling means thereto. The coupling means can pass through a handle passage in at least a portion of the handle.

    [0009] In yet another aspect of the invention a method for loading a self-expanding stent into a stent delivery system comprises providing a stent delivery system, a transfer member and a link removeably secured to the stent and the delivery system. The stent delivery system has an inner member and an outer member. The outer member is moveably disposed and coaxially configured over at least a portion of the inner member. The transfer member radially compresses the stent to fit inside the outer member. Also, the transfer member is coupled to the outer member and is moveably disposed and coaxially configured over at least a portion of the inner member. The link is actually securable to the inner member of the stent delivery system and is adapted to restrict axial movement between the stent and the inner member. The method also includes the steps of moving the outer member relative to the inner member to causing the stent to move through the transfer member and into at least a portion of the outer member. The method can further include the step of removing the link from the stent once the stent is disposed within at least a portion of the outer member. Also, the transfer member can include a cylindrical portion adapted to circumferentially surround at least a portion of the stent for preventing damage to the stent prior to being loaded in the stent delivery system. Additionally, the method can further comprise the step of removing the transfer member from the outer member once the stent is disposed within at least a portion of the outer member. Further, the method can additionally comprise maintaining the link secured to the stent for manipulating the position of the stent in conjunction with the stent delivery system. The link can comprise at least one of a suture, thread, cord, filament and wire.

    [0010] These and other objectives, features, and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments thereof, which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0011] 

    Figure 1 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of a stent transfer and delivery system in accordance with the subject invention.

    Figure 2 illustrates a plan view of an embodiment of a stent transfer member in cross-section in accordance with the subject invention.

    Figure 3 illustrates an enlarged plan view of a distal portion of the assembly shown in Figure 1, in cross-section.

    Figure 4 illustrates an enlarged plan view of a distal portion of the assembly shown in Figure 1, after the stent has been loaded in accordance with the subject invention.

    Figure 5 illustrates an enlarged plan view of an embodiment of a distal portion of the distal subassembly in cross-section, in accordance with the subject invention.

    Figures 6A-D illustrate perspective, left side, plan and right side views, respectively, of an embodiment of the proximal handle in accordance with the subject invention.

    Figures 7A-B illustrate perspective views of another embodiment of the proximal handle in accordance with the subject invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0012] The present invention relates to an assembly and method for transporting and deploying a stent, or other intraluminary member as described herein, in a bodily passageway. The assembly is suited for medical applications (particularly, endoscopic therapy) in the gastrointestinal tract, the biliary tract, the urinary tract, and the respiratory tract. In particular, a preferred embodiment of the present invention is directed to an assembly and method for transporting, loading and delivering a self-expanding esophageal stent. The system allows the clinician or user to easily load a stent into a delivery system with minimal effort and without damaging the stent. However, an assembly in accordance with the present invention could also be used in the neurological system (e.g., in the brain) and in the cardiovascular system (e.g., in the heart). Reference to bodily passageways may be to passageways in any of the aforementioned tracts and systems or elsewhere in the body.

    [0013] It should be noted that references herein to the term "distal" are to a direction away from an operator of the subject invention, while references to the term "proximal" are to a direction towards the operator of the subject invention. Accordingly, when the terms "distal" and "proximal" are used herein in the context of an assembly device that is being deployed within a body, such as a human body, by an operator, the term "distal" refers to a location within the body that is further within the body than a location that is "proximal" to the operator.

    [0014] With reference to the drawings, Figure 1 shows a perspective view of the stent delivery system 10 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the subject invention. As seen in Figure 1, a stent 20 is loaded within a stent transfer member 30 which is preferably attached to a stent delivery catheter subassembly. The stent delivery catheter subassembly comprises a distal tip 40, a distal inner member 50, an outer tubular member 60, a distal handle 69, a proximal inner member 70, and a proximal handle 80. An additional feature of the assembly is the loading suture 90, which is removeably coupled to the stent 20 and extends through the stent delivery catheter subassembly to the proximal handle 80.

    [0015] While the present invention can be applied to the delivery of many intraluminary devices, it is particularly suited for delivering a self-expanding stent 20. A preferred stent 20 should be capable of being radially compressed and longitudinally extended for implantation into a bodily lumen. The degree of elongation depends upon the structure and materials of the stent, and may be quite varied. The diameter of the stent also may become several times smaller as it elongates. It is preferred that the stent 20 be constructed to self-expand when released from a radially compressed state. Any stent that is capable of radial expansion is preferably used in accordance with the present invention. Further, the stent 20 may be repositionable, removable and/or reconstrainable, and/or may include multiple interconnected or non-interconnected stents. Thus, various stent types and stent constructions may be employed in the invention, and the invention can be constructed to accommodate stents of various sizes and configurations.

    [0016] One embodiment applies the method and system of the present invention to a braided stent 20. As used herein the term braiding and its variants refer to the diagonal intersection of elongate filaments, such as elongate wires, so that each filament passes alternately over and under one or more of the other filaments, which is commonly referred to as an intersection repeat pattern. Useful braiding patterns include, but are not limited to, a diamond braid having a 1/1 intersection repeat pattern, a regular braid having a 2/2 intersection repeat pattern or a hercules braid having a 3/3 intersection repeat pattern. The passing of the filaments under and over one and the other results in slidable filament crossings that are not interlooped or otherwise mechanically engaged or constrained.

    [0017] While the stent 20 can be formed of metals, plastics or other materials, it is preferred that a biocompatible construction is employed. Useful biocompatible materials include but are not limited to biocompatible metals, biocompatible alloys, biocompatible polymeric materials, including synthetic biocompatible polymeric materials and bioabsorbable or biodegradable polymeric materials, materials made from or derived from natural sources and combinations thereof. Useful biocompatible metals or alloys include, but not limited to, nitinol, stainless steel, cobalt-based alloy such as Elgiloy, platinum, gold, titanium, tantalum, niobium, polymeric materials and combinations thereof. Useful synthetic biocompatible polymeric materials include, but are not limited to, polyesters, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polyesters, polypropylenes, polyethylenes, polyurethanes, polyolefins, polyvinyls, polymethylacetates, polyamides, naphthalane dicarboxylene derivatives, silks and polytetrafluoroethylenes. The polymeric materials may further include a metallic, a glass, ceramic or carbon constituent or fiber. Useful and nonlimiting examples of bioabsorbable or biodegradable polymeric materials include poly(L-lactide) (PLLA), poly(D,L-lactide) (PLA), poly(glycolide) (PGA), poly(L-lactide-co-D,L-lactide) (PLLA/PLA), poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLLA/PGA), poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLA/PGA), poly(glycolide-co-trimethylene carbonate) (PGA/PTMC), polydioxanone (PDS), Polycaprolactone (PCL), polyhydroxybutyrate (PHBT), poly(phosphazene) poly(D,L-lactide-co-caprolactone) PLA/PCL), poly(glycolide-co-caprolactone) (PGA/PCL), poly(phosphate ester) and the like. Further, the stent 20 may include materials made from or derived from natural sources, such as, but not limited to collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycan, fibronectin and laminin, keratin, alginate, combinations thereof and the like.

    [0018] Further, the stent 20 may be made from polymeric materials which may also include radiopaque materials, such as metallic-based powders or ceramic-based powders, particulates or pastes which may be incorporated into the polymeric material. For example, the radiopaque material may be blended with the polymer composition from which the polymeric filament is formed, and subsequently fashioned into the stent as described herein. Alternatively, the radiopaque material may be applied to the surface of the metal or polymer stent. Various radiopaque materials and their salts and derivatives may be used including, without limitation, bismuth, barium and its salts such as barium sulfate, tantalum, tungsten, gold, platinum and titanium, to name a few. Additional useful radiopaque materials may be found in U.S. Patent No. 6,626,936. Metallic complexes useful as radiopaque materials are also contemplated. The stent 20 may be selectively made radiopaque at desired areas along the stent 20 or made be fully radiopaque, depending on the desired end-product and application. Further, portions of the stent 20, for example stent filaments, may have an inner core of tantalum, gold, platinum, iridium or combination of thereof and an outer member or layer of nitinol to provide a composite filament for improved radiocapicity or visibility. Alternatively, the stent 20 may also have improved external imaging under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or ultrasonic visualization techniques. MRI is produced by complex interactions of magnetic and radio frequency fields. Materials for enhancing MRI visibility include, but are not limited to, metal particles of gadolinium, iron, cobalt, nickel, dysprosium, dysprosium oxide, platinum, palladium, cobalt based alloys, iron based alloys, stainless steels, or other paramagnetic or ferromagnetic metals, gadolinium salts, gadolinium complexes, gadopentetate dimeglumine, compounds of copper, nickel, manganese, chromium, dysprosium and gadolinium. To enhance the visibility under ultrasonic visualization the stent 20 of the present invention may include ultrasound resonant material, such as but not limited to gold. Other features, which may be included with the stent 20 of the present invention, include radiopaque markers; surface modification for ultrasound, cell growth or therapeutic agent delivery; varying stiffness of the stent or stent components; varying geometry, such as tapering, flaring, bifurcation and the like; varying material; varying geometry of stent components, for example tapered stent filaments; and the like.

    [0019] Also, as is known in the art, the materials of the stent 20 as well as the component filaments of the stent 20 can be further enhanced with coverings, films, coatings, and other materials and techniques. A covering may be in the form of a tubular structure, for example composed of polymeric material and/or silicone. The covering may also comprise any plastic or polymeric material, desirably a somewhat hard but flexible plastic or polymeric material. The covering may be transparent or translucent, desirably substantially or partially transparent. Furthermore, the covering may be constructed of any suitable biocompatible materials, such as, but not limited to, polymers and polymeric materials, including fillers such as metals, carbon fibers, glass fibers or ceramics. Useful covering materials include, but are not limited, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polytetrafluoroethylene, including expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), fluorinated ethylene propylene, fluorinated ethylene propylene, polyvinyl acetate, polystyrene, poly(ethylene terephthalate), naphthalene dicarboxylate derivatives, such as polyethylene naphthalate, polybutylene naphthalate, polytrimethylene naphthalate and trimethylenediol naphthalate, polyurethane, polyurea, silicone rubbers, polyamides, polyimides, polycarbonates, polyaldehydes, polyether ether ketone, natural rubbers, polyester copolymers, styrene-butadiene copolymers, polyethers, such as fully or partially halogenated polyethers, and copolymers and combinations thereof. The coating or coatings may be on the stent 20, components of the stent 20, and combinations thereof. The stent components, in part or in total, may be temporary, for example bioabsorbable, biodegradable, and the like, or may be permanent (i.e., not substantially bioabsorbable or biodegradable), for example the above-described biocompatible metals, alloys and polymers.

    [0020] Further, the stent may be treated with any of the following: anti-thrombogenic agents (such as heparin, heparin derivatives, urokinase, and PPack (dextrophenylalanine proline arginine chloromethylketone); anti-proliferative agents (such as enoxaprin, angiopeptin, or monoclonal antibodies capable of blocking smooth muscle cell proliferation, hirudin, and acetylsalicylic acid); anti-inflammatory agents (such as dexamethasone, prednisolone, corticosterone, budesonide, estrogen, sulfasalazine, and mesalamine); antineoplastic/antiproliferative/anti-miotic agents (such as paclitaxel, 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin, vinblastine, vincristine, epothilones, endostatin, angiostatin and thymidine kinase inhibitors); anesthetic agents (such as lidocaine, bupivacaine, and ropivacaine); anti-coagulants (such as D-Phe-Pro-Arg chloromethyl keton, an RGD peptide-containing compound, heparin, antithrombin compounds, platelet receptor antagonists, anti-thrombin antibodies, anti-platelet receptor antibodies, aspirin, prostaglandin inhibitors, platelet inhibitors and tick antiplatelet peptides); vascular cell growth promotors (such as growth factor inhibitors, growth factor receptor antagonists, transcriptional activators, and translational promotors); vascular cell growth inhibitors (such as growth factor inhibitors, growth factor receptor antagonists, transcriptional repressors, translational repressors, replication inhibitors, inhibitory antibodies, antibodies directed against growth factors, bifunctional molecules consisting of a growth factor and a cytotoxin, bifunctional molecules consisting of an antibody and a cytotoxin); cholesterol-lowering agents; vasodilating agents; and agents which interfere with endogenous vascoactive mechanisms.

    [0021] The stent transfer member 30 is preferably intended to protect a stent 20 or other similar inter-luminary device, before and during the time it is loaded into a delivery catheter lumen. Also, the stent transfer member 30 serves to safely radially compress the stent 20 for loading into a catheter lumen. In this way, the stent 20 can be loaded into the catheter lumen just prior to implantation in a patient's bodily passageway.

    [0022] As shown in Figure 2, an embodiment of the stent transfer member 30 is seen in cross-section separated from the overall delivery system 10. The stent transfer member 30 has a stent holding passage 33 whose inner diameter is preferably adapted to enclose a self-expanding stent in a fully radially expanded state. Alternatively, the stent holding passage 33 could have a somewhat smaller inner circumference in order to provide an element of frictional engagement with a stent 20 loaded therein. Further, although the stent holding passage 33 preferably encloses the entire length of the stent 20, it could be longer or shorter. Thus, the holding passage 33 could be made to encircle only a portion of the stent 20. The stent transfer member 30 also includes a compression funnel passage 35 which serves to radially compress a stent 20 that passes from the stent holding passage to the more proximal catheter receiving passage 37. The distal end 32 of the stent transfer member 30 is open to allow unobstructed passage of the distal portions of the stent delivery catheter subassembly. The proximal end 38 of the stent transfer member 30 is adapted to engage with a distal end 62 of the outer tubular member 60. Desirably, the proximal end 38 of the stent transfer member 30 has an inner cylindrical portion which acts as a catheter receiving passage 37 having a circumference that engages the outer circumference of the distal end 62 of the outer tubular member 60. A transition step 36 preferably serves as a mating seat for the outer tubular member 60. The transition step 36 is desirable to radially compress the stent 20 to the same or similar diameter as the inner lumen of the outer tubular member 60.

    [0023] Alternatively, the stent transfer member 30 may include radially protruding ribs (not shown) within at least one of the transfer member passages 33, 35, 37 in order to reduce the frictional surfaces that engage with the stent 20 or outer tubular member 60. Such ribs could extend longitudinally, circumferentially, helically, or any combination thereof, within all or a portion of a passage 33, 35, 37. Such radial ribs could be limited to only a portion of one of the aforementioned passages 33, 35, 37 or included throughout. Similarly, the transfer member 30 could include porous, textured or bumpy surfaces to either increase or decrease frictional surfaces on either the inner stent engagement surfaces or outer handling surfaces.

    [0024] It should be understood that the length or diameter of the stent transfer member 30 could be constructed to suit a particular application and/or stent. Also, the edges of the stent transfer member 30 could have a beveled profile. Further, the transfer member 30 could be constructed with one or more longitudinal slits or slots that can extend along the entire length or only a portion of the transfer member 30. As a further alternative, the transfer member 30 could engage the outer tubular member 60 using other known coupling techniques. Further still, as discussed above with regard to stents 20, the transfer member 30 could be coated. Such coatings could reduce or enhance frictional engagement. Additionally, such coatings could further be designed to transfer or adhere to the stent 20 after it is removed from the transfer member 30.

    [0025] While the stent transfer member 30 is shown as a unitary member, it can alternatively be formed by separate elements. In this way, the stent transfer member 30 could be made to split open or have a portion that can be removed to facilitate loading the stent 20 therein. For example, the stent transfer member 30 could be split or hinged along it's longitudinally axis. However, such an embodiment would preferably provide some mechanism for holding the separate elements together. Also, although a generally cylindrical outer structure is illustrated in Figure 2, the stent transfer member 30 could have almost any shape to its outer surfaces. Whether to provide ergonomic features, a handle, engagement surfaces for tools, or simply ease of manufacture, it should be understood that the outer surfaces of the stent transfer member 30 could be altered from that shown. With regard to the inner surfaces 33, 35, 37 a cylindrical configuration is preferred, but alternative shapes are anticipated.

    [0026] With reference to Figure 3, in accordance with the present invention a loading suture 90 or other suitable thread is braided or woven into a proximal end the stent 20. The loading suture 90 can be braided or woven directly into the wires, filaments or structure of the stent 20 itself. However, it is preferable that a central portion of a loading suture 90 be woven to engage a separate retrieval suture 98 that is part of the stent 20. The loading suture 90 can be threaded through any number of loops of the proximal retrieval suture 98. The two ends of the loading suture 90 then preferably extend proximally from the stent 20 to the proximal end of the delivery system 10.

    [0027] Retrieval sutures 92, 98 located at the distal and proximal ends of the stent 20 can be useful to a physician after the stent is delivered into a body lumen. Such sutures 92, 98 remain on the stent after it is implanted and allow the physician to reposition and/or remove the stent. Devices such as graspers or hooks can be used to pull on the retrieval sutures 92, 98. When pulled, the retrieval suture 92, 98 is preferably adapted to constrict the end of the stent in a purse string type movement. This constriction of an end of the stent 20 can make it easier for it to be pulled through an intraluminary passage.

    [0028] It should be noted that references herein to the term "suture" denotes a length of thread, thread-like member, cord, filament, wire or other similar structure. It should be understood that sutures as referred to herein can be made of a single material or composite materials. Accordingly, the terms "suture," "thread," "cord," "filament," and/or "wire" are used interchangeably herein.

    [0029] As seen in Figure 3, once the loading suture 90 is coupled to the stent 20 and fed through the delivery catheter subassembly toward the proximal end of the assembly, the stent 20 is preferably loaded into the stent holding passage 33. This can be done before or after the stent transfer member is mounted onto the distal end 62 of the outer tubular member 60. The configuration shown in Figure 3 maintains the stent 20 in a radially expanded state and can serve to protect the stent from the time of assembly until the stent is loaded into the lumen of outer tubular member 60. Thus, the stent need not be compressed into a delivery catheter for an extended period, potentially causing permanent deformation.

    [0030] With reference to Figures 3 and 4, the distal inner member 50 and the proximal inner member 70 are preferably fixed to one another, functioning as a unitary member, along with distal tip 40. These three inner members 40, 50, 70 are preferably coaxially configured within outer tubular member 60. Also, as with a more traditional delivery catheter, the outer tubular member 60 is slidable axially relative to the three inner members 40, 50, 70. Further, when the stent transfer member 30 is mounted onto the distal end 62, it slides axially in conjunction with the outer tubular member 60, and thus also relative to inner members 40, 50, 70. Thus, two handles are provided for manually sliding these elements relative to one another. The distal handle 69 controls the sliding movement of the outer tubular member 60, along with, if attached, stent transfer member 30. The proximal handle 80 likewise controls the sliding movement of the above mentioned inner members 40, 50, 70. This relative sliding movement is used for both loading and deployment (delivery) of the stent 20.

    [0031] The inner members 50 and 70 and outer member 60 are preferably formed of a body compatible material. Desirably, the biocompatible material is a biocompatible polymer. Examples of suitable biocompatible polymers include, but are not limited to, polypropylene (PP), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and the like. Materials for the members 50, 60, 70 may be the same or different. Additionally, the outer member 60 and the stent transfer member 30 could have coverings, films, coatings, and the like, desirably a polymeric covering, disposed over the inner surfaces to aid in the loading and/or deployment of the stent 20.

    [0032] The loading suture 90 provides a link or coupling means between the stent 20 and the proximal end of the proximal inner member 70. The loading suture 90 is removeably secured to the proximal handle 80. The desired purpose of securing the loading suture 90 is to limit the relative axial movement of the stent 20 away from the proximal inner member 70 and/or the proximal handle 80. Thus, by moving the distal handle 69 away from the proximal handle 80, the stent 20 is caused to be drawn through the compression funnel passage 35 and into an inner lumen of the outer tubular member 60, as seen in Figure 4. During this movement, the stent 20 is transferred from the stent holding passage 33 to the inner lumen of the outer tubular member 60. Also, during this movement the stent 20 is preferably made to radially compress and engage onto the distal inner member 50, or at least engage with the stent holder 57. Thus, the configuration seen in Figure 4 shows the stent 20 fully loaded within the inner lumen of the outer tubular member 60. Alternatively, the distal end 62 of the outer tubular member 60 can include an inner bevel to aid in loading the stent 20.

    [0033] In one embodiment, the loading suture 90 can simply be threaded between the outer surface of the proximal inner member 70 and the inner surface of the outer tubular member 60. Alternatively, the loading suture can be made to pass through auxiliary passage 75 in the proximal inner member 70, seen in Figure 5. The loading suture 90 can also be made to pass through the entire length of the proximal inner member 70, the inside of the proximal handle 80 and out the proximal end of the proximal handle 80. Alternatively, an additional opening can be made in the outer surface of the proximal inner member 70, allowing the loading suture 90 to exit the auxiliary passage 75. Such a loading suture 90 exit (not shown) can be disposed on the proximal inner member 70 at a location between the distal handle 69 and proximal handle 80. Further, this alternative suture opening in the proximal inner member 70 can correspond with a stent release position discussed below.

    [0034] During deployment or delivery of the stent 20, as the two handles 69, 80 are drawn toward one another, there is a particular distance between them that corresponds with release of the stent 20. As the proximal edge of the distal handle 69 slides along the surface of the proximal inner member 70, a position on the surface of the proximal inner member 70 will correspond with the position that releases the stent 20 from the outer tubular member 60. Thus, a marker for this release position can be provided on the surface of the proximal inner member 70. Alternatively, the loading suture opening could be positioned to also function as this type of marker.

    [0035] With reference to Figure 5, the distal inner member 50 is preferably disposed and secured within an inner passage 73 in the proximal inner member 70. Similarly, the stent holder 57 and the distal tip 40 are preferably fixed to the distal inner member 50. These elements can be secured by frictional engagement or more permanent bonding. Alternatively, the distal inner member 50 and the proximal inner member 70 could be made as one unitary member. In this way, the distal subassembly seen in Figure 5 will preferably move in unison. Also, the distal inner member 50 preferably extends through the entire length of the proximal inner member 70 and beyond it in the distal direction.

    [0036] The distance between the distal end 71 of the proximal inner member 70 and the proximal end 49 of the distal tip 40 is preferably suited to accommodate the stent 20 in a radially compressed state, as seen in Figure 4. It should be noted that as the stent 20 is radially compressed, it tends to axially expand. Thus, it is desired that the distance between the proximal inner member 70 and the distal tip 40 comfortably accommodate the axially expanded state of the stent 20. The stent holder 57 is preferably provided to enhance the frictional engagement between the stent 20 and the distal inner member 50. Once compressed onto the stent holder 57, the stent 20 will slide axially in unison with the distal inner member 50, unless the stent is radially released. Thus, as seen in Figure 4, once compressed into the outer tubular member 60, at least a portion of the stent 20 is preferably engaged with the stent holder 57. Preferably, the stent holder 57 is made of a soft deformable or low durometer polymer that allows it to conform to the inner surface of the stent. For example, the stent holder 57 could be made from 2533 Pebax® (ARKEMA, Courbevoie, France) a hardness 25, shore D, non-plasticized flexible Polyamide or other polymers, such as Dynaflex ® (GLS Corp., McHenry, IL). However, it is understood that other suitable materials that function to enhance engagement with the stent could be used. Additionally, although the stent holder 57 is shown as an annular band, alternatively it could extend around only a portion or separate portions of the distal inner member 50. In other words, the stent holder 57 may not have to completely encompass the distal inner member 50, but may be only partially disposed around a circumferential portion thereof. Moreover, the stent holder 57 may have a pattern, such as a surface pattern of indentations and/or protrusions for facilitating securement of the stent 20. In some embodiments, the stent holder 57 may have barbs, pins or protrusions which may engage the stent 20. Further, with any of the embodiments, the device or system may include multiple stent holders 57, either axially spaced apart or axially juxtaposed.

    [0037] Once the stent 20 is loaded as seen in Figure 4, the stent transfer member 30 and the loading suture 90 can be removed from the assembly. Thereafter, the delivery catheter subassembly that remains is preferably used to surgically deliver the stent 20, into a body lumen. In one alternative embodiment, the loading suture 90, need not be removed before delivery of the stent 20 into the patient. In this alternative embodiment, the loading suture 90 can be used to adjust the axial delivery position of the stent 20 in the proximal direction within the body lumen. In other words, the loading suture 90, is thus used to pull the stent 20 back to a more proximal location. Once positioned as desired, the loading suture 90 can be removed from the stent 20 as discussed below.

    [0038] Removal of the stent transfer member 30 is preferably relatively simple. A frictional mounting between the applicable two elements 30, 62 is desirable, for easy removal. Alternatively, a screw-thread or other known means of engagement between the two elements could be provided.

    [0039] With regard to the removal of the loading suture 90, at least one end the loading suture 90 is preferably detached from the proximal handle 80 or the proximal inner member 70, where it was secured. Then, by detaching and pulling the other end of the loading suture 90, it is preferably pulled out of the stent 20 and the overall assembly. The loose weaving or braiding configuration between the loading suture 90 and the retrieval suture 98, should allow the suture 20 to be removed in this way. Even if the loading suture 90 were woven into the stent 20 itself, this removal technique could still be used. Once the loading suture 90 has been removed from the stent 20 and the stent delivery catheter subassembly, it can be set aside and/or discarded. In this way, with the stent transfer member 30 and loading suture 90 removed, the stent delivery catheter subassembly is now loaded with a stent for delivery and can be inserted into a body lumen for surgical delivery.

    [0040] As seen in Figures 6A-D, the proximal handle 80 (also referred to as a luer body) is preferably made to include a fastener, clamp or locking mechanism for retaining the loading suture 90. Figure 6A-D show suture locks 87 which comprise two screw-like members with cylindrical or semi-spherical heads that are preferably adapted to be easily manipulated by hand, without the use of tools. Each end of the loading suture 90 can be rapped around one of these suture locks 87 and secured thereon. Alternatively, the suture lock 87 could be fully or partially unscrewed exposing the screw shaft which can be used to secure the suture. In this embodiment, once the suture is wrapped around or pinned under the screw shaft, the suture lock 87 could then be tightened down to retain the suture in position.

    [0041] The proximal handle shown in Figures 6A-D preferably includes an auxiliary passage 85 that corresponds to auxiliary passage 75 in the proximal inner member 70. Thus, the loading suture 90 can be fed through these auxiliary passages 75, 85. The auxiliary passage 85 preferably ends either near the suture locking mechanism 87 or at the distal end 88 of the proximal handle 80. The receiving passage 84 is intended to mate with the proximal end of the proximal inner member 70. Additionally, a luer flange 82 or other similar ergonomic feature can be provided on the distal end of the proximal handle 80.

    [0042] As part of an overall stent delivery system, it is preferred that an inner passage be provided for flushing fluids through the stent delivery catheter subassembly. In this way, the proximal handle 80 is preferably provided with a flush passage 83 which traverses the length of the proximal handle. This flush passage 83 is preferably open to and in communication with inner passage 53 in the distal inner member 50. Further, this inner flow passage should preferably extend all the way through to an inner passage 43 in the distal tip 40. In this way, an inner flush passage is provided from end to end in the overall assembly. Additionally, the proximal end 88 of the proximal handle 80 can be molded to receive fluid flushing attachments or other surgical instrument.

    [0043] Figures 7A and 7B illustrate an alternate embodiment for the proximal handle 180. This embodiment demonstrates many of the same features as the proximal handle discussed above. For example, a somewhat different luer flange 182 is provided. This embodiment also preferably uses a screw-on cap 187 as a suture lock. The screw-on cap 187 is preferably adapted to be mounted on a portion of the proximal handle 180. The cap is preferably mounted onto a threaded cylindrical port 186 protruding from a lateral surface of the handle 180. Alternatively, the same screw threading can be molded onto the proximal end 188 to receive the screw-on cap 187. As a further alternative, multiple mounting locations can be provided as seen in Figures 7A-B. Nonetheless, the two ends of the loading suture 90 can be wrapped around either threaded cylindrical port 183, 186 before being secured by the cap 187. Additionally, the loading suture 90 can be fed through an inner passage in the port 186 or the flush passage 183, and then secured by the screw-on cap 187. As yet a further alternative, the mounting locations could engage the cap 187 with a snap lock design, rather than screw threads.

    [0044] In either of the previously described embodiments of the proximal handle 80, 180, one end of the loading suture 90 can be permanently attached to one of the suture locks 87 or the screw-on cap 187. This can be done by injection molding, adhesives, heated bonding or other known techniques. It is desirable to allow the other end to be removed so that it can be pulled out of the stent 20 and the assembly 10, as discussed above. As a further alternative, both ends of the loading suture 90 could be permanently secured, thus requiring the surgeon or user to simply cut them off prior to pulling the loading suture out.

    [0045] Additional features of useful stent delivery systems are further described in U.S. Patent Application No. 11/437,889, entitled "Apparatus and Method for Loading and Delivering a Stent", filed May 19, 2006; and U.S. Patent Application No. 11/437,459, entitled "Apparatus and Method for Loading and Delivering a Stent Using a Suture Retaining Mechanism", filed May 19, 2006.

    [0046] While various embodiments of the present invention are specifically illustrated and/or described herein, it will be appreciated that modifications and variations of the present invention may be effected by those skilled in the art, as long as the resulting embodiment falls within the scope of the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An assembly (10) for delivering a self-expanding stent (20) into a body lumen comprising:

    a catheter adapted to deliver the self-expanding stent (20), the catheter having a stent delivery passage adapted to contain the stent in an at least partially radially compressed state, the catheter comprising

    a proximal inner member (70);

    a proximal handle for controlling sliding movement of the proximal inner member (70);

    an outer tubular member (60) moveably disposed over a portion of the proximal inner member (70);

    a distal handle (69) for controlling sliding movement of the outer tubular member (60);

    a stent transfer member (30) having a proximal end (38) releasably engaged to a distal end (62) of the outer tubular member (60), the stent transfer member comprising:

    a stent holding passage (33) sized to circumferentially surround at least a portion of the stent (20) in an at least partially radially expanded state;

    a tapered passage (35) sized to radially compress the stent (20) as the stent moves from the stent holding passage (33) into the tapered passage (35), the tapered passage (35) positioned between the stent holding passage (33) and the stent delivery passage of the catheter; and

    a thread-like loading coupling (90) sized to extend from the proximal end of the stent (20) to the proximal handle (80, 180); wherein:
    the thread-like loading coupling (90) is removably secured to the proximal handle (80, 180) and is configured to limit relative movement of the stent away from the proximal handle (80, 180) while the distal handle (69) is adapted to draw the stent proximally from the stent holding passage by moving the distal handle away from the proximal handle.


     
    2. The assembly of Claim 1,
    wherein the stent transfer member (30) is formed from at least two portions to allow insertion of the stent into the stent holding passage, or
    wherein at least one of the stent holding passage (33) and the tapered passage have radially protruding ribs adapted to engage the stent disposed therein, or
    wherein the stent holding passage (33) is sized to surround the entire length of the stent, or
    wherein the tapered passage (35) defines a first larger diameter and a second smaller diameter, and where the second smaller diameter is substantially equal to the diameter of the stent delivery passage.
     
    3. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein the delivery catheter comprises:
    a stent holder (57) at the distal end of the inner member for restraining axial movement of the stent (20) when the stent is in the compressed state.
     
    4. The apparatus of Claim 3, wherein the thread-like loading coupling (90) is selected from the group consisting of sutures, threads, cords, filaments and wires.
     
    5. The apparatus of Claim 3, wherein the thread-like loading coupling passes through a supplemental passage (57) in at least a portion of the proximal inner member (70),
    wherein preferably the proximal handle (80, 180) includes a securing mechanism (87, 183, 186) for removably securing the thread-like loading coupling (90) thereto,
    wherein more preferably the thread-like loading coupling passes through a handle passage (85) in at least a portion of the proximal handle (80, 180).
     
    6. A method for loading a self-expanding stent (20) into a stent delivery system comprising:

    providing a stent delivery system having a proximal inner member (70) and an outer member (60), the outer member being moveably disposed and coaxially configured over at least a portion of the proximal inner member, said stent delivery system further having a proximal handle (80, 180) for controlling sliding movement of the proximal inner member (70) and a distal handle (69) for controlling sliding movement of the outer tubular member (60);

    providing a transfer member (30) comprising a stent holding passage (33) sized to circumferentially surround at least a portion of the stent (20) in an at least partially radially expanded state and a tapered passage (35) sized for radially compressing the stent as the stent moves from the stent holding passage into the taper passage to fit inside the outer member (60), the transfer member releasably engaged to the outer member (60) and being moveably disposed and coaxially configured over at least a portion of the proximal inner member; and

    providing a thread-like loading coupling (90) sized to extend from the proximal end of the stent (20) to the proximal handle (80) and removably secured to the proximal handle; and

    drawing the stent proximally from the stent holding passage by moving the distal handle away from the proximal handle, causing the stent to move through the transfer member and into at least a portion of the outer member while the thread-like loading coupling is adapted to limit relative axial movement of the stent away from the proximal handle.


     
    7. The method according to Claim 6,
    further comprising the step of removing the thread-like loading coupling (90) from the stent (20) once the stent is disposed within at least a portion of the outer member (60), or
    wherein the transfer member (30) includes a stent holding passage (33) adapted to circumferentially surround at least a portion of the stent in a radially expanded state for preventing damage to the stent prior to being loaded in the stent delivery system.
     
    8. The method according to Claim 6, further comprising the step of removing the transfer member (30) from the outer member (60) once the stent (20) is disposed within at least a portion of the outer member.
     
    9. The method according to Claim 8,
    further comprising the step of maintaining the thread-like loading coupling (90) secured to the stent (20) for manipulating the position of the stent in conjunction with the stent delivery system, or
    wherein the thread-like loading coupling (90) comprises at least one of a suture, thread, cord, filament and wire.
     
    10. The assembly of claim1 or 5,
    the proximal handle (180) comprising a first port (186) protruding from a lateral surface, a second port (183) protruding axially, and a threaded cap (187) mountable to at least one of said first port or said second port for securing said thread-like loading coupling (90) thereto.
     
    11. The method of claim 8, the proximal handle (180) comprising a first port (186) protruding from a lateral surface, a second port (183) protruding axially, and a threaded cap (187) mountable to at least one of said first port (183) or said second port (186) for securing said link thereto.
     
    12. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a stent (20), the stent positioned in the stent holding passage (33) of the stent transfer member.
     
    13. The assembly of claim 12, further comprising thread-like retrieval couplings (92, 98) located at a distal end and a proximal end of the stent (20), the thread-like retrieval couplings adapted to constrict the ends of the stent.
     
    14. The assembly of claim 13, wherein the thread-like loading coupling (90) is releasably engaged to the thread-like retrieval coupling (98) located at the proximal end of the stent.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Anordnung (10) zum Zuführen eines selbstexpandierenden Stents (20) in ein Körperlumen, aufweisend:

    einen Katheter, der eingerichtet ist, den selbstexpandierenden Stent (20) zuzuführen, wobei der Katheter einen Stent-Zuführkanal besitzt, um den Stent in einem zumindest teilweise radial-komprimierten Zustand zu halten, wobei der Katheter aufweist:

    ein proximales Innenelement (70);

    einen proximalen Griff zur Steuerung der Gleitbewegung des proximalen Innenelements (70);

    ein äußeres röhrenförmiges Element (60), das bewegbar über einem Teil des proximalen Innenelements (70) angeordnet ist;

    einen distalen Griff (69) zur Steuerung der Gleitbewegung des äußeren röhrenförmigen Elements (60);

    ein Stent-Transferelement (30) mit einem proximalen Ende (38), das mit einem distalen Ende (62) des äußeren röhrenförmigen Elements (60) lösbar in Eingriff steht,

    wobei das Stent-Transferelement aufweist:

    einen Stent-Haltekanal (33), der derart bemessen ist, dass er zumindest einen Teil des Stents (20) in einem zumindest teilweise radial-expandierten Zustand umgibt;

    einen sich verjüngenden Kanal (35), der derart bemessen ist, dass er den Stent (20) radial komprimiert, wenn sich der Stent von dem Stent-Haltekanal (33) in den sich verjüngenden Kanal (35) bewegt, wobei der sich verjüngende Kanal (35) zwischen dem Stent-Haltekanal (33) und dem Stent-Einführungskanal des Katheters positioniert ist; und

    eine fadenartige Ladekopplung (90), die derart bemessen ist, dass sie sich von dem proximalen Ende des Stents (20) zu dem proximalen Griff (80, 180) erstreckt, wobei: die fadenartige Ladekopplung (90) an dem proximalen Griff (80, 180) lösbar befestigt ist, und eingerichtet ist, die Relativbewegung des Stents weg von dem proximalen Griff (80, 180) zu beschränken, während der distale Griff (69) eingerichtet ist, den Stent durch Bewegung des distalen Griffs weg von dem proximalen Griff von dem Stent-Haltekanal proximal zu ziehen.


     
    2. Anordnung nach Anspruch 1,
    wobei das Stent-Transferelements (30) aus zumindest zwei Teilen gebildet ist, um ein Einführen des Stents in den Stent-Haltekanal zu ermöglichen, oder
    wobei der Stent-Haltekanal (33) und/oder der sich verjüngende Kanal radial vorstehende Rippen haben, die eingerichtet sind, mit dem darin angeordneten Stent in Eingriff zu gelangen, oder
    wobei der Stent-Haltekanal (33) derart bemessen ist, dass er die gesamte Länge des Stents umgibt, oder
    wobei der sich verjüngende Kanal (35) einen ersten größeren Durchmesser und einen zweiten kleineren Durchmesser definiert, und wobei der zweite kleinere Durchmesser im Wesentlichen gleich dem Durchmesser des Stent-Zuführkanals ist.
     
    3. Anordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Zuführkatheter aufweist:
    einen Stent-Halter (57) an dem distalen Ende den Innenelements zur Einschränkung einer axialen Bewegung des Stents (20), wenn sich der Stent in dem komprimierten Zustand befindet.
     
    4. Anordnung nach Anspruch 3, wobei die fadenartige Ladekopplung (90) ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe bestehend aus Nähten, Fäden, Schnüren, Fasern, und Drähten.
     
    5. Anordnung nach Anspruch 3, wobei die fadenartige Ladekopplung durch einen Versorgungskanal (57) in zumindest einem Teil des proximalen Innenelements (70) verläuft,
    wobei der proximale Griff (80, 180) bevorzugt einen Sicherungsmechanismus (87, 183, 186) zur lösbaren Befestigung der fadenartigen Ladekopplung (90) daran aufweist,
    wobei die fadenartige Ladekopplung besonders bevorzugt durch einen Griffkanal (85) in zumindest einem Teil des proximalen Griffs (80, 180) verläuft.
     
    6. Verfahren zum Laden eines selbstexpandierenden Stents (20) in ein Stent-Zuführsystem, umfassend:

    Bereitstellen eines Stent-Zuführsystems mit einem proximalen Innenelement (70) und einem Außenelement (60), wobei das Außenelement bewegbar angeordnet ist und über zumindest einen Teil des proximalen Innenelements koaxial ausgebildet ist, wobei dieses Stent-Zuführsystem ferner einen proximalen Griff (80, 180) zur Steuerung der Gleitbewegung des proximalen Innenelements (70) und einen distalen Griff (69) zur Steuerung der Gleitbewegung des äußeren röhrenförmigen Elements (60) aufweist;

    Bereitstellen eines Transferelements (30), aufweisend einen Stent-Haltekanal (33), der derart bemessen ist, dass er zumindest einen Teil des Stents (20) in einem zumindest teilweise expandierten Zustand umgibt, sowie einen sich verjüngenden Kanal (35), der derart bemessen ist, dass er den Stent radial komprimiert, wenn sich der Stent von dem Stent-Haltekanal in den sich verjüngenden Kanal bewegt, um in das Außenelement (60) zu passen, wobei das Transferelement mit dem Außenelement (60) lösbar in Wirkverbindung steht und über zumindest einem Teil des proximalen Innenelements bewegbar angeordnet und koaxial befestigt ist; und

    Bereitstellen einer fadenartigen Ladekopplung (90), die derart bemessen ist, dass sie sich von dem proximalen Ende des Stents (20) bis zu dem proximalen Griff (80) erstreckt und an dem proximalen Griff lösbar befestigt ist; und

    Ziehen des Stents proximal von dem Stent-Haltekanal durch Bewegung des distalen Griffs weg von dem proximalen Griff, wodurch bewirkt wird, dass sich der Stent durch das Transferelement und in zumindest einen Teil des Außenelements bewegt, während die fadenartige Ladekopplung eingerichtet ist, eine relative Axialbewegung des Stents weg von dem proximalen Griff einzuschränken.


     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6,
    ferner umfassend den Schritt des Entfernens der fadenartigen Ladekopplung (90) von dem Stent (20), nachdem der Stent innerhalb zumindest eines Teils des Außenelements (60) angeordnet wurde, oder
    wobei das Transferelement (30) einen Stent-Haltekanal (33) aufweist, der eingerichtet ist, zumindest einen Teil des Stents in einem radial expandierten Zustand zu umgeben, um eine Beschädigung des Stents zu verhindern, bevor dieser in das Stent-Zuführsystem geladen wird.
     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend den Schritt des Entfernens des Transferelements (30) von dem Außenelement (60), sobald der Stent (20) innerhalb zumindest eines Teils des Außenelements angeordnet wurde.
     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8,
    ferner umfassend den Schritt des Haltens der an dem Stent (20) festgelegten, fadenartigen Ladekopplung (90) zur Beeinflussung der Position des Stents in Zusammenhang mit dem Stent-Zuführsystem, oder
    wobei die fadenartige Ladekopplung (90) eine Naht und/oder einen Faden und/oder eine Schnur und/oder ein Filament und/oder einen Draht umfasst.
     
    10. Anordnung nach Anspruch 1 oder 5,
    wobei der proximale Griff (180) einen ersten Port (186), der von einer Seitenfläche absteht, einen zweiten Port (183), der axial vorsteht, und eine Gewindekappe (187) aufweist, die an dem ersten Port und/oder zweiten Port zur Sicherung dieser fadenartigen Ladekopplung (90) daran montierbar ist.
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 8, wobei der proximale Griff (180) einen ersten Port (186), der von einer Seitenfläche absteht, einen zweiten Port (183), der axial vorsteht, und eine Gewindekappe (187) aufweist, die an dem ersten Port (183) und/oder zweiten Port (186) zur Sicherung dieser Verbindung daran montierbar ist.
     
    12. Anordnung nach Anspruch 1, ferner aufweisend einen Stent (20), wobei der Stent in dem Stent-Haltekanal (33) des Stent-Transferelements positioniert ist.
     
    13. Anordnung nach Anspruch 12, ferner aufweisend fadenartige Rückholkopplungen (92, 98), die sich an einem distalen Ende und einem proximalen Ende des Stents (20) befinden, wobei die fadenartigen Rückholkopplungen eingerichtet sind, die Enden des Stents zusammenzuziehen.
     
    14. Anordnung nach Anspruch 13, wobei die fadenartige Ladekopplung (90) mit der fadenartigen Rückholkopplung (98), die sich an dem proximalen Ende des Stents befindet, lösbar in Eingriff steht.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble (10) pour mettre en place un stent à auto-expansion (20) dans une lumière du corps comprenant :

    un cathéter adapté pour mettre en place le stent à auto-expansion (20), le cathéter ayant un passage de mise en place de stent adapté pour contenir le stent dans un état au moins en partie compressé radialement, le cathéter comprenant

    un élément interne proximal (70) ;

    une poignée proximale pour commander un mouvement de glissement de l'élément interne proximal (70) ;

    un élément tubulaire externe (60) disposé de manière mobile au-dessus d'une partie de l'élément interne proximal (70) ;

    une poignée distale (69) pour commander un mouvement de glissement de l'élément tubulaire externe (60) ;

    un élément de transfert de stent (30) ayant une extrémité proximale (38) en contact de manière amovible avec une extrémité distale (62) de l'élément tubulaire externe (60), l'élément de transfert de stent comprenant :

    un passage de maintien de stent (33) dimensionné pour entourer suivant la circonférence au moins une partie du stent (20) dans un état au moins en partie expansé radialement ;

    un passage effilé (35) dimensionné pour compresser radialement le stent (20) quand le stent se déplace du passage de maintien de stent (33) dans le passage effilé (35), le passage effilé (35) positionné entre le passage de maintien de stent (33) et le passage de mise en place de stent du cathéter ; et

    un élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) dimensionné pour s'étendre de l'extrémité proximale du stent (20) à la poignée proximale (80, 180) ; où :
    l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) est fixé de manière amovible à la poignée proximale (80, 180) et est configuré pour limiter un mouvement relatif du stent en s'éloignant de la poignée proximale (80, 180) tandis que la poignée distale (69) est adaptée pour tirer le stent de manière proximale depuis le passage de maintien de stent en déplaçant la poignée distale en l'éloignant de la poignée proximale.


     
    2. Ensemble selon la revendication 1,
    où l'élément de transfert de stent (30) est formé d'au moins deux parties pour permettre l'insertion du stent dans le passage de maintien de stent, ou
    où au moins l'un du passage de maintien de stent (33) et du passage effilé ont des nervures radialement en saillie adaptées pour entrer en contact avec le stent disposé à l'intérieur, ou
    où le passage de maintien de stent (33) est dimensionné pour entourer toute la longueur du stent, ou
    où le passage effilé (35) définit un premier diamètre plus grand et un second diamètre plus petit, et où le second diamètre plus petit est sensiblement égal au diamètre du passage de mise en place de stent.
     
    3. Appareil selon la revendication 1, où le cathéter de mise en place comprend :
    un élément de maintien de stent (57) à l'extrémité distale de l'élément interne pour limiter le mouvement axial du stent (20) quand le stent est dans l'état compressé.
     
    4. Appareil selon la revendication 3, où l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) est choisi dans le groupe consistant en les sutures, les fils, les cordons, les filaments et les fils métalliques.
     
    5. Appareil selon la revendication 3, où l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils passe dans un passage supplémentaire (57) dans au moins une partie de l'élément interne proximal (70),
    où de préférence la poignée proximale (80, 180) inclut un mécanisme de fixation (87, 183, 186) pour fixer de manière amovible l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) à celle-ci,
    où de préférence encore l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils passe dans un passage de poignée (85) dans au moins une partie de la poignée proximale (80, 180).
     
    6. Procédé pour charger un stent à auto-expansion (20) dans un système de mise en place de stent, comprenant :

    fournir un système de mise en place de stent ayant un élément interne proximal (70) et un élément externe (60), l'élément externe étant disposé de manière mobile et configuré coaxialement au-dessus d'au moins une partie de l'élément interne proximal, ledit système de mise en place de stent ayant en outre une poignée proximale (80, 180) pour commander un mouvement de glissement de l'élément interne proximal (70) et une poignée distale (69) pour commander un mouvement de glissement de l'élément tubulaire externe (60) ;

    fournir un élément de transfert de stent (30) comprenant un passage de maintien de stent (33) dimensionné pour entourer suivant la circonférence au moins une partie du stent (20) dans un état au moins en partie expansé radialement et un passage effilé (35) dimensionné pour compresser radialement le stent quand le stent se déplace du passage de maintien de stent dans le passage effilé pour s'adapter à l'intérieur de l'élément externe (60), l'élément de transfert en contact de manière amovible avec l'élément externe (60) et étant disposé de manière mobile et configuré coaxialement au-dessus d'au moins une partie de l'élément interne proximal ; et

    fournir un élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) dimensionné pour s'étendre de l'extrémité proximale du stent (20) à la poignée proximale (80) et fixé de manière amovible à la poignée proximale ; et

    tirer le stent de manière proximale depuis le passage de maintien de stent en déplaçant la poignée distale en l'éloignant de la poignée proximale, ce qui amène le stent à se déplacer dans l'élément de transfert et dans au moins une partie de l'élément externe tandis que l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils est adapté pour limiter un mouvement axial relatif du stent en s'éloignant de la poignée proximale.


     
    7. Procédé selon la revendication 6,
    comprenant en outre l'étape de retrait de l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) du stent (20) une fois que le stent est disposé dans au moins une partie de l'élément externe (60), ou
    où l'élément de transfert (30) inclut un passage de maintien de stent (33) adapté pour entourer suivant la circonférence au moins une partie du stent dans un état radialement expansé pour empêcher une détérioration du stent avant qu'il soit chargé dans le système de mise en place de stent.
     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre l'étape de retrait de l'élément de transfert (30) de l'élément externe (60) une fois que le stent (20) est disposé dans au moins une partie de l'élément externe.
     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 8,
    comprenant en outre l'étape de maintien de l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) fixé au stent (20) pour manipuler la position du stent en combinaison avec le système de mise en place de stent, ou
    où l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) comprend au moins l'un d'une suture, d'un fil, d'un cordon, d'un filament et d'un fil métallique.
     
    10. Ensemble selon la revendication 1 ou 5,
    la poignée proximale (180) comprenant un premier orifice (186) faisant saillie d'une surface latérale, un second orifice (183) faisant saillie axialement, et un capuchon fileté (187) pouvant être monté sur au moins l'un dudit premier orifice ou dudit second orifice pour fixer ledit élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) à celle-ci.
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 8, la poignée proximale (180) comprenant un premier orifice (186) faisant saillie d'une surface latérale, un second orifice (183) faisant saillie axialement, et un capuchon fileté (187) pouvant être monté sur au moins l'un dudit premier orifice (183) ou dudit second orifice (186) pour fixer ledit lien à celle-ci.
     
    12. Ensemble selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un stent (20), le stent positionné dans le passage de maintien de stent (33) de l'élément de transfert de stent.
     
    13. Ensemble selon la revendication 12, comprenant en outre des éléments de couplage de récupération analogues à des fils (92, 98) situés à une extrémité distale et une extrémité proximale du stent (20), les éléments de couplage de récupération analogues à des fils adaptés pour resserrer les extrémités du stent.
     
    14. Ensemble selon la revendication 13, où l'élément de couplage de chargement analogue à des fils (90) est en contact de manière amovible avec l'élément de couplage de récupération analogue à des fils (98) situé à l'extrémité proximale du stent.
     




    Drawing




















    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description