Aims: Durable fluoropolymer-coated everolimus-eluting stents (FP-EES) have shown lower rates of stent thrombosis (ST) versus bare metal stents (BMS) and first-generation bioabsorbable polymer (BP) DES. The aim of the study was to evaluate the specific role of the FP in thromboresistance.
Methods and results: A total of 57 stents were assessed in three separate ex vivo swine arteriovenous shunt model experiments (first shunt experiment, custom-made fluoropolymer-coated BMS [FP-only] vs. BMS [n=8 each]; second shunt experiment, FP-EES vs. abluminally coated biodegradable polymer sirolimus-eluting stents [BP-SES] vs. BMS [n=8 each]; and third shunt experiment, FP-EES vs. polymer-free Biolimus A9-coated stents [PF-BCS] vs. BMS [n=6 each]). After one hour of circulation, stents were bisected, and each half was dual-immunostained using a platelet cocktail and a marker for inflammation. Antibody staining was visualised by confocal microscopy. In addition, stents were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. FP-only stents showed significantly lower platelet adherence compared with BMS (% fluorescence-positive area: FP-only=1.8%, BMS=5.6%, p=0.047) with similar inflammatory cell density. FP-EES also demonstrated the lowest platelet adherence compared with BP-SES (p=0.056), PF-BCS (p=0.013) and BMS (p=0.003) with the significantly lowest inflammatory cell density.
Conclusions: Fluoropolymer coating imparts greater thromboresistance relative to BMS and to polymer-free DES designs, which reflects an unique phenomenon known as fluoropassivation, representing one proposed mechanism for clinically observed low ST rates in FP-EES.