On the importance of modeling balloon folding, pleating, and stent crimping: An FE study comparing experimental inflation tests

Markus A Geith, Krzysztof Swidergal, Bernd Hochholdinger, Thomas G Schratzenstaller, Marcus Wagner, Gerhard A Holzapfel

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Finite element (FE)-based studies of preoperative processes such as folding, pleating, and stent crimping with a comparison with experimental inflation tests are not yet available. Therefore, a novel workflow is presented in which residual stresses of balloon folding and pleating, as well as stent crimping, and the geometries of all contact partners were ultimately implemented in an FE code to simulate stent expansion by using an implicit solver. The numerical results demonstrate that the incorporation of residual stresses and strains experienced during the production step significantly increased the accuracy of the subsequent simulations, especially of the stent expansion model. During the preoperative processes, stresses inside the membrane and the stent material also reached a rather high level. Hence, there can be no presumption that balloon catheters or stents are undamaged before the actual surgery. The implementation of the realistic geometry, in particular the balloon tapers, and the blades of the process devices improved the simulation of the expansion mechanisms, such as dogboning, concave bending, or overexpansion of stent cells. This study shows that implicit solvers are able to precisely simulate the mentioned preoperative processes and the stent expansion procedure without a preceding manipulation of the simulation time or physical mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e3249
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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