Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) affects close to 1 million people in the EU and USA each year and occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the deep veins in the body. Between 23 to 60% of these DVT patients suffers from post thrombotic syndrome (PTS) which includes painful swollen legs leading to immobility and other skin issues, decreasing their quality of life significantly.
Currently, compression therapy with stockings and anticoagulants are the basis of therapy in DVT and PTS. As stents have proven themselves to be the first line of therapy for arterial conditions, the awareness and use of venous stents for DVT and PTS patients is increasing. However, the currently used venous stents still have shortcomings since they are 1. too stiff potentially leading to stent failure, 2. not flexible enough, causing bad alignment and 3. not porous enough leading to bad ingrowth and side branch in flow.
Prof. Cees Wittens from Maastricht UMC+ has invented the world’s first in length adjustable multi-segmented Venous Stent. This design is based on the fact that in venous stenting it is not necessary to cover the complete endothelial wall as in arteries, but it is just there to prevent the vein from collapsing. The segmented design allows for high radial force per segment and high flexibility. This, combined with the adjustable intersegmental distances leads to less stent material against the vein wall nurturing faster endothelial healing and higher porosity, and therefore reducing the necessity to anticoagulants use in the long run.
A first prototype has been developed and the patents have been filed. Next step would be to initiate a flow study and in parallel, the animal testing in a sheep model.