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Stents are expandable meshed tubes used either to reinforce body vessels possessing weak walls or to increase the internal diameter of a body vessel to allow an improved flow of fluids such as blood or urine. The use of arterial stents in particular has grown significantly over the last 20 years due to an ageing population and to a change in diet which has led to an increase in cardiovascular illness. Estimates vary, but it is predicted that coronary stents will have a market value of $7.2bn by 2012 and will continue to grow at a rate of 6% per annum thereafter. In 2009 over a million US citizens received angioplasty/stent interventions.
In this paper we will review some of the technology being used in the development of new stents and how, in particular, computational modelling and material characterisation are helping to improve clinical outcomes. Finally we will look at the future perspectives for next generation stent technology.