Intravascular devices with a higher risk of polymer emboli: The need for particulate generation testing

Amitabh Madhukumar Chopra, Amy Rapkiewicz, Ramesh Daggubati, Adrian Sequeira, Yin C. Hu, Deepak L. Bhatt, Samin K. Sharma, Juan Pablo Cruz, Abraham R. Tzafriri, Elazer R. Edelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hydrophilic polymer coatings on intravascular devices lower friction between the device and vasculature, thereby reducing trauma during interventional procedures. Polymer coating embolism-the detachment and downstream embolism of polymer particles-has been reported as an iatrogenic complication of coated interventional devices affecting the vasculature and various organs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledges this complication and continues to work with stakeholders to close gaps in performance testing and standards related to polymer coating integrity. Recent innovations within interventional technologies have led to development of new hydrophilic-coated devices with expanded indications for use. The 2018 FDA draft guidance for intravascular guidewires expands the application of particulate generation testing to most devices and recommends labeling changes to increase industry awareness. This article highlights current procedural trends where the phenomenon of polymer coating embolism may be more prevalent. It describes the mechanisms of polymer separation, reported clinical sequelae, and risk factors for relevant indications. These procedural trends and associated risk factors articulate the need for particulate testing and support the FDA's draft guidance recommendations for performance testing of applied coatings. If standardized, particulate assessments may allow characterization and comparisons of coating integrity among devices from various manufacturers, and are an important foundation for setting particulate limits. As hydrophilic coatings enable endovascular treatment for a range of patient populations, setting particulate limits or finding alternative solutions without compromise to device function may be essential. Particulate testing is relevant to physicians, regulators, and manufacturers for the purposes of product development and quality improvement of interventional devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalBiomedical Instrumentation and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


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