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COMPONENT FOR DELIVERING AND
LOCKING A MEDICAL DEVICE TO A GUIDE
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 5
The present invention relates generally to medical devices used to perform interventional procedures in a patient's vasculature which can be delivered through the vasculature via a steerable guide wire that has been pre-deployed into an area 10 of treatment, for example, a stenosed or occluded region of an artery or other body vessel. The present invention is more particularly directed to a locking component that can be attached to a medical device, such as embolic filter assembly used to capture embolic material that may be created and 15 released into the vasculature during a stenting or angioplasty procedure, to allow the medical device to be delivered along the guide wire to the target area and locked into place. The locking component of the present invention can be in conjunction with conventional, readily-available guide wires or 20 specially-designed guide wires which facilitate the locking features of the present invention.
Numerous procedures have been developed for treating occluded blood vessels to allow blood to flow without obstruction. Such procedures usually involve the percutane- 25 ous introduction of an interventional device into the lumen of the artery, usually by a catheter. One widely known and medically accepted procedure is balloon angioplasty in which an inflatable balloon is introduced within the stenosed region of the blood vessel to dilate the occluded vessel. The balloon 30 dilatation catheter is initially inserted into the patient's arterial system and is advanced and manipulated into the area of stenosis in the artery. The balloon is inflated to compress the plaque and press the vessel wall radially outward to increase the diameter of the blood vessel, resulting in increased blood 35 flow. The balloon is then deflated to a small profile so that the dilatation catheter can be withdrawn from the patient's vasculature and the blood flow resumed through the dilated artery. As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, while the above-described procedure is typical, it is not the 40 only method used in angioplasty.
Another procedure is laser angioplasty which utilizes a laser to ablate the stenosis by superheating and vaporizing the deposited plaque. Atherectomy is yet another method of treating a stenosed body vessel in which cutting blades are rotated 45 to shave the deposited plaque from the arterial wall. A vacuum catheter is usually used to capture the shaved plaque or thrombus from the blood stream during this procedure.
In the procedures of the kind referenced above, abrupt reclosure may occur or restenosis of the artery may develop 50 over time, which may require another angioplasty procedure, a surgical bypass operation, or some other method of repairing or strengthening the area. To reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of reclosure and to strengthen the area, a physician can implant an intravascular prosthesis for maintaining 55 vascular patency, commonly known as a stent, inside the artery across the lesion. The stent can be crimped tightly onto the balloon portion of the catheter and transported in its delivery diameter through the patient's vasculature. At the deployment site, the stent is expanded to a larger diameter, 60 often by inflating the balloon portion of the catheter.
The above non-surgical interventional procedures, when successful, avoid the necessity of major surgical operations. However, there is one common problem which can become associated with all of these non-surgical procedures, namely, 65 the potential release of embolic debris into the bloodstream that can occlude distal vasculature and cause significant
health problems to the patient. For example, during deployment of a stent, it is possible that the metal struts of the stent can cut into the stenosis and create particles of plaque that can travel downstream and lodge somewhere in the patient's vascular system. Pieces of plaque material are sometimes generated during a balloon angioplasty procedure and are released into the bloodstream. Additionally, while complete vaporization of plaque is the intended goal during laser angioplasty, sometimes particles are not fully vaporized and enter the bloodstream. Likewise, not all of the emboli created during an atherectomy procedure may be drawn into the vacuum catheter and, as a result, may enter the bloodstream as well.
When any of the above-described procedures are performed in the carotid arteries, the release of emboli into the circulatory system can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal to the patient. Debris carried by the bloodstream to distal vessels of the brain can cause cerebral vessels to occlude, resulting in a stroke, and in some cases, death. Therefore, although cerebral percutaneous transluminal angioplasty has been performed in the past, the number of procedures performed has been somewhat limited due to the justifiable fear of an embolic stroke occurring should embolic debris enter the bloodstream and block vital downstream blood passages.
Medical devices have been developed to attempt to deal with the problem created when debris or fragments enter the circulatory system following vessel treatment utilizing any one of the above-identified procedures. One approach which has been attempted is the cutting of any debris into minute sizes which pose little chance of becoming occluded in major vessels within the patient's vasculature. However, it is often difficult to control the size of the fragments which are formed, and the potential risk of vessel occlusion still exists, making such a procedure in the carotid arteries a high-risk proposition.
Other techniques include the use of catheters with a vacuum source which provides temporary suction to remove embolic debris from the bloodstream. However, as mentioned above, there can be complications associated with such systems if the catheter does not remove all of the embolic material from the bloodstream. Also, a powerful suction could cause trauma to the patient's vasculature.
Another technique which has had some success utilizes a filter or trap downstream from the treatment site to capture embolic debris before it reaches the smaller blood vessels downstream. The placement of a filter in the patient's vasculature during treatment of the vascular lesion can reduce the presence of the embolic debris in the bloodstream. Such embolic filters are usually delivered in a collapsed position through the patient's vasculature and then expanded to trap the embolic debris. Some of these embolic filters are self expanding and utilize a restraining sheath which maintains the expandable filter in a collapsed position until it is ready to be expanded within the patient's vasculature. The physician can retract the proximal end of the restraining sheath to expose the expandable filter, causing the filter to expand at the desired location. Once the procedure is completed, the filter can be collapsed, and the filter (with the trapped embolic debris) can then be removed from the vessel. While a filter can be effective in capturing embolic material, the filter still needs to be collapsed and removed from the vessel. During this step, there is a possibility that trapped embolic debris can backflow through the inlet opening of the filter and enter the bloodstream as the filtering system is being collapsed and removed from the patient. Therefore, it is important that any captured embolic debris remain trapped within this filter so that particles are not released back into the body vessel.
Some prior art expandable filters vessel are attached to the distal end of a guide wire or guide wire-like member which allows the filtering device to be steered in the patient's vasculature as the guide wire is positioned by the physician. Once the guide wire is in proper position in the vasculature, 5 the embolic filter can be deployed to capture embolic debris. The guide wire can then be used by the physician to deliver interventional devices, such as a balloon angioplasty dilatation catheter or a stent delivery catheter, to perform the interventional procedure in the area of treatment. After the proce- 10 dure is completed, a recovery sheath can be delivered over the guide wire using over-the-wire or rapid exchange (RX) techniques to collapse the expanded filter for removal from the patient's vasculature.
Some prior art filtering devices utilize a construction in 15 which the expandable filter is permanently affixed to the guide wire. When the expandable filter is permanently attached to the guide wire, the device may have added stiffness and therefore may lose some "front-line" capability, which is the ability to negotiate the often tortuous anatomy 20 through which it is being delivered. The stiffness of a combined expandable filter and guide wire may possibly prevent the device from reaching the desired target area within the patient's vasculature. Also, in such a design, it is possible for the deployed filtering portion of the device to rotate or move 25 with the guide wire in the event that the guide wire is rotated by the physician during usage. As a result, there is a possibility that the deployed filtering portion of the device could scrape the vessel wall possibly causing trauma. Therefore, when such a filtering device is utilized, it is important that the 30 proximal end of the guide wire remains fixed since rotation could possible be transmitted to the deployed filtering portion of the device. However, since a physician normally delivers interventional devices along the guide wire after the filter portion has been deployed, some manipulation of the guide 35 wire takes place an it may be difficult to prevent at least some rotation at the proximal end of the guide wire.
Some prior art filtering devices utilize a separate filtering assembly which can be delivered over the guide wire and attaches to a special fitting located near the distal end of the 40 guide wire. However, these filtration devices require the fitting to be placed near the distal end of the guide wire which can possibly affect the ability to steer the guide wire and reach the target area in the patient's vasculature. These particular filter systems also require additional manufacturing proce- 45 dures to properly mount the fitting onto the steerable guide wire. As such, the presence of the fitting near the distal end of the guide wire may cause unwanted problems during delivery of the guide wire through the patient's vasculature.
Therefore, what has been needed is a medical device that 50 can be delivered and locked to a guide wire after the guide wire has been initially deployed into the target region of a patient. In particular, there is a need for a filtering device that is easy to deliver, easily attachable to the guide wire and possibly eliminates the need for special fittings to be placed 55 on the guide wire. Also, it would be beneficial if the filtering device can be rotatably mounted onto the guide wire to prevent the deployed filtering device from rotating and possible scraping the vessel wall once deployed. The present invention satisfies these and other needs. 60
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a locking component for delivering and locking a medical device, such as an embolic 65 filtering assembly used to capture embolic material that may be created and released into a patient's vasculature during a
stenting or angioplasty procedure, along a pre-deployed guide wire. The locking component of the present invention can be used in conjunction with conventional, readily available guide wires or specially-designed guide wires which facilitate the locking features of the present invention. The locking component of the present invention is designed to slide over an elongate guide wire and lock onto a flexible and resilient body member, for example, a helical coil or a polymeric tubular member disposed on or around a portion of the guide wire. The locking component includes means for temporarily compressing at least a portion of the flexible body member (i.e., the coils) of the guide wire when the locking component is advanced over the flexible body member. The locking component further includes a recess which receives the compressed portion of the flexible body member. When the force which compresses the portion of the coil is removed, the resiliency of the formally compressed coils causes them to spring back to their original size within this recess. Once back to their original size, one or more of the coils now placed in the recess will abut against a shoulder or edge formed in the recess locking the locking component in place on the guide wire.
In one aspect of the invention, for example, when the flexible body member is a helical coil or other springy component, the coupling of the locking component to the helical coil creates a shock absorbing feature which helps to prevent the transmission of unwanted vibration or forces to the attached medical device. In this fashion, the coupling of the locking component to the coils of the guide wire utilizes the springiness and resiliency of the coils to provide shock-absorbing capabilities.
In one particular aspect of the present invention, the locking component is made from a body member having a longitudinal opening which extends through the body member and is adapted to receive and temporarily compress at least a portion of the flexible body member (the coil, for example). This longitudinal opening can be tapered from a large diameter to a smaller diameter, which causes the temporary compression of the helical coil as the coil moves through the tapered opening. The locking recess formed in the body member can be located adjacent to, and in communication with, the smallest diameter of this tapered longitudinal opening. Accordingly, this smallest diameter of the tapered opening produces the most compression to the portion of the coil which passes through it. As such, as the coil of the guide wire is compressed and stretched through this smallest diameter, the compressed portion of the coil moves into the larger locking recess which is located adjacent to the small diameter opening. Ultimately, depending upon the coil stretch and length, the portion of the coil which remains distal to the small diameter opening become somewhat stacked, thus preventing any further forward movement of the locking component along the length of the coil. When forward pressure is released, the portion of the coil that has passed into the locking recess will return back to their original size (diameter) thus restricting the locking component from further movement since this portion of the coil are too large to pass back through the smaller diameter opening through which they passed. Therefore, the locking component, and attached medical device, will remain locked to the guide wire.
Generally, the smallest diameter of this tapered opening should be smaller than the normal diameter of the helical coil formed on the guide wire. The larger diameter opening should be sufficiently large to receive the coil. The tapered opening will then gradually compress a portion of the length of coil as the locking component advances over the coil.