LLNL Technology Used in Blood-Flow Medical Plug

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A memory-foam material developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is being used in a potentially life-saving medical device that won a National Technology Transfer Award this week from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.Researchers from LLNL, Texas A&M University, and Santa Clara-based Shape Memory Medical developed a foam plug that prevents blood flow to diseased vessels.Blood flow through damaged vessels puts patients at increased risk of stroke, severe pain, uncontrolled bleeding and even death. The IMPEDE Embolization Plug helps minimize complications.More than 400 patients have already been treated successfully worldwide with the device for conditions such as deformed arteries, tumor resections (where blood flow was blocked to tumors) and pelvic congestion syndrome, with no reported adverse effects.The plug, made of a polyurethane shaped-memory polymer (SMP) initially intended for weapons applications, is crimped to fit any diagnostic catheter for delivery into a diseased blood vessel. Within minutes, the foam expands to divert blood flow from the diseased vessel toward healthy vessels.The foam plug is less likely than metal plugs or coils to tear through blood vessel walls and is easier to navigate through the vascular system, according to its developers. Unlike metal devices, the foam plug degrades over …

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