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Title:
BALLOON CATHETER AND TECHNIQUE FOR THE MANUFACTURE THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1980/001647
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A single-lumen, one piece catheter (11) approximately 0.04 inch in diameter with an integral balloon (12) at its end having a wall thickness of 0.005 inch or less, sufficiently small to be retractible by suction into the catheter (11) and to be extensible therefrom at a desired rate by fluid pressure. The balloon (12) may have a calibrated leak aperture (13). The balloon portion of the catheter is made by heating a portion of catheter tubing (11), stretching the tubing lengthwise and applying pressure to the tubing. The apparatus for forming the balloon includes a spring loaded clamp (14) to hold the tubing at the one end, a capstan (15) to hold the tubing at the other end, a heating coil (16) wrapped around the tubing near the clamped end (19) thereof and mounted with the clamp (14), and a mechanism (21, 22) for controlling the pressure and volume of the pressurizing gas entering the lumen of the tube (12) in accordance with the retractile movement of the spring loaded clamp (14).

Inventors:
BORETOS J (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US1980/000146
Publication Date:
August 21, 1980
Filing Date:
February 14, 1980
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
US COMMERCE (US)
International Classes:
A61M25/00; (IPC1-7): A61M25/00
Foreign References:
US3664328A1972-05-23
US4085757A1978-04-25
US4029104A1977-06-14
US4109659A1978-08-29
US3911927A1975-10-14
US3050066A1962-08-21
DE454642C1928-07-06
US3528869A1970-09-15
US3859408A1975-01-07
US2494273A1950-01-10
US2716777A1955-09-06
JPS4317836B1
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Claims:
Claims
1. A balloon catheter comprising a singlelumen,onepiec flexible elongated catheter tube integrally formed at one end with an inflatable balloon having a wall thic ness sufficiently small relative to that of the tube to allow the balloon to be retracted by suction into the tube.
2. The balloon catheter of claim 1, and wherein said one piece tube and balloon comprises thermoplastic mater¬ ial.
3. The balloon catheter of claim 2, and wherein said balloon has a wall thickness of less than 0.005 inch.
4. The balloon catheter of claim 2, and wherein said balloon has a wall thickness of approximately 0.002 inch.
5. The balloon catheter of claim 1, and wherein said balloon is provided with a restricted leak aperture.
6. The balloon catheter of claim 5, and wherein said restricted leak aperture is in the form of a nozzle element integrally formed at the end of the balloon.
7. A method of forming a balloon catheter comprising the steps of heating a tubular body of thermoplastic material at a localized area thereof until the mater¬ ial is relatively soft, "stretching the tubular body lengthwise sufficiently to cause the heated portion to narrow and reduce its wall thickness, applying gas pressure to the inner lumen of the tubular body to cause circumferential expansion of the locally heated, thinwalled area, and cutting off the excess of the OM tubular body externally adjacent the expanded portion.
8. The method of claim 7, and wherein the stretching of the tubular body is performed by applying steady spr¬ ing tensile force to the body.
9. The method of claim 7, and wherein the heating is sufficient to cause permanent fusing of the end of the balloon defining thinned wall area.
10. The method of claim 7, and wherein the cutting is at a point to define a restricted nozzle at the region, externally adjacent to the expanded portion.
11. The method of claim 7, and the step of surrounding the locally heated area with an internally contoured mould before the application of gas pressure to the inner lumen of the body.
12. An apparatus for forming a balloon catheter comprising means to support thermoplastic catheter tubing in an extended condition, means to apply tension to the extended tubing, means to apply heat to a localized region of the extended tubing sufficient to allow it to be stretched and constricted under said tension and to reduce its wall thickness, and means to fur¬ nish under pressure to said tubing to circumferenti ally expand the reducedwall thickness portion of the tubing so as to form an integral thinwalled balloon on the tubing.
13. The apparatus of claim 12, and wherein said heat applying means comprises a heating coil surrounding s.aid localized region.
14. The apparatus of claim 12, and wherein said tension applying means comprises capstan means to supportingl receive said catheter tubing, anchored spring means spaced from the capstan means, and clamping means for connecting the spring means to the free end of the catheter tubing so as to transmit the pulling force o said spring means to the tubing.
15. The apparatus of claim 14, and wherein said clamping means and heatapplying means are mounted together and move as one assembly.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, and wherein said heat applying means comprises an electrical heating coil surrounding said localized region of the extended tub ing.
17. The apparatus of claim 15, and means to control the gas pressure in accordance with the movement of the clamping means and heatapplying means. /to Yrl.
Description:
Descrip -ion

BALLOONCATHETER AND TECHNIQUE FOR THE MANUFACTURE THEREOF

Technical Field

This invention relates to balloon catheters, and more 5 particularly to a balloon catheter wherein the balloon is a continuous, non-interrupted integral part of the cathe¬ ter wall, free of seams or joints.

Background Art

Balloon catheters are useful tools of the clinical

10 radiologist and surgeon and find application in diagnosing and treating innumerable ailments throughout the body. They have been used in virtually all passageways from blood vessels, urinary tracts, or the like, to nasal and throat openings. They function to block flow of blood,air,

15 urine, etc. , to scrape vessel walls for the removal of clots, to block the flow of escaping air, and for numerous other uses..Generally, these devices consist of plastic or rubber tubing to which a rubber sleeve is mechanically fastened to stimulate a balloon. These fastenings usually

20 consist of several wraps of fiber to anchor the edges of the balloon, followed by an overcoat of rubber or plastic. As the sizes become smaller and the tubing becomes softer, these balloons are more .difficult to construct and suffer from a lack of strength and reliability. Consequently,

25 they have not been available for use in diagnosis and treatment in many situations. Thus, there is a significant need for very small-diameter catheters which exhibit a high degree of flexibility and reliability and, because of their gossamer nature, are capable of navigating the

30 tortuous paths of small (less than 1 mm) lumen vessels leading to tumors, arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, angiomas, and the like.

Existing balloon catheters have various serious shortcomings mainly because the balloon is connected to

he cathetic tubing wall by seams or joints which present difficult fabrication problems, which are subject to leak age or rupture, and which interfere with the smooth move¬ ment of the catheter in its intended passage because the seams or joints are relatively bulky.

A preliminary search of the prior art reveals the following prior U.S. patents of interest:

Koehn, 3,050,066

Dereniuk, 3,528,869 Vasquez et al, 3,833,004

Dyke, 4,003,382 erber, 4,029,104

Disclosure of Invention

The device of the present invention overcomes the shortcomings of existing balloon catheters by providing the balloon as an integral part of the wall of the cathe¬ tic tubing, free of seams or joints that might be subject to leakage or rupture. Also, the device of the present invention is of a nature to allow a wide variety of mater- ials to be used for catheters, namely, it allows the use of any thermoplastic or thermosensitive material. This feature of versatility, according to the present invention opens up new applications for catheters, for instance, it allows the catheter to be specially treated for antithro- mbogenicity, antisepsis, or the like, by surface modifica¬ tion and other chemical treatments or alterations. Accord¬ ing to the present invention balloon catheters can be made as small as several mils in diameter with precision and reliability. They can be either constructed with (1) a terminal balloon and no open lumen at its end, (2) a ter¬ minal balloon with a calibrated and controllable leak at its end, or (3) any number of combination of the above two types. '

A balloon without a terminal lumen can be readily constructed using the technique of the present invention.

Temporary or permanent blocking of vessels of any size can be realized with these catheters. Temporary blockii

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for example, is especially useful for (a) clinical and electro-physiological study of the collateral blood supply of a vascular system distal to an occluded vessel,

(b) angiographic investigation of the collateral blood flow from systems adjacent to that of the occluding vessel,

(c) trials of .the therapeutic effect of occluding a vessel functioning as a shunt or the afferent vessel of an arter- iovenous aneurysm, and (d) study of the effect of reducing or eliminating blood flow in a vessel. The use of a balloon with a calibrated leak,in accord¬ ance with the present invention, in very small (less than 1 mm diameter) vessels could provide for (a) selective angiography of a vessel located either distal or proximal to an occluded section of a vessel, (b) injection of fluid hardening polymers into an aneurysm, blocking a malforma¬ tion or isolating a tumor, (c) injection of radiopaque materials for tumor staining for disclosure and (d) supply¬ ing chemotherapeutic agents locally, as to a tumor. A cal¬ ibrated leak can be built into the terminal end of the bal- loon catheter during fabrication, as will be presently described, prior to expanding the wall to form the balloon. With this design, the balloon will inflate under predeter¬ mined pressure before "leaking" pressure or fluid. Vary¬ ing degrees of inflation can serve two functions: (1) to block the vessel and prevent retrograde flow, or (2) part¬ ially inflated, to act as a float to carry the catheter to- otherwise inaccessible areas, utilizing the flow of blood around and against it to propel it ' along. The combination of its small size, gassamer nature, and reliably inflat- able balloon, provided by the technique of the present invention, allows the catheter to traverse through small and winding passages leading to the brain, liver, pan¬ creas, spleen, kidneys, etc. Once the catheter has arri¬ ved at the intended site, additional pressure will allow whatever fluid or agent which is to be delivered to* "leak- out" of the lumen. The amount delivered is a function of the applied pressure, the size of the capillary, the

elapsed time, and the viscosity of the supplied substance The catheter of the present invention relies on com¬ plete flexibility to perform its function, namely, of traversing 1 mm and smaller vessels while being free to flex over small radii of less than one-half of the vessel diameter so that it can readily enter smaller branch vessels located at acute angles. For this reason, even the softest of catheter materials must possess extremely thin walls (i.e., less than 0;005 inch, and preferably 0.002 inch or less) and no seams or joints that might add stiffness and subsequent resistance to movement such as in the previously employed devices.

The catheter of the present invention has a one-piec construction which minimizes the possibility of detach- ment or separation of portions thereof accidentally in a critical area of the body where harm may be incurred to the patient, such as in the area of the brain or lungs. In these small sizes, bond lines, cement joints, or fast¬ eners employed with previously used catheter devices must be concomitantly small and weaker than on conventional size catheters. Furthermore, as the inner bore of cathe¬ ters becomes increasingly smaller, greater pressures must be exerted along the catheter to deliver a drug or medication through it. These higher pressures could also add to the risk of destruction or accidental rupture of catheters of the "assembly-type, whereas all of these problems are avoided by the simple one-piece construction of a catheter according to the present invention. Also, the device of the present invention is well suited for automation in its fabrication, without requiring compli¬ cated and expensive assembly equipment such as is re¬ quired in fabricating previously employed catheters.

Accordingly, a main object of the invention is to provide a.balloon catheter which overcomes the deficienc- ies and shortcomings of the previously employed balloon catheters.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved balloon catheter which is of continuous, non-in¬ terrupted, one-piece construction, free of seams or joints. A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved balloon catheter which has an integral balloon of very small wall thickness so that the balloon may be readily retracted into the associated catheter tube to facilitate the insertion and placement of the catheter, and so that the balloon may be readily inflated at its intended site.

A still further Object of the invention is to provide an improved balloon catheter of continuous smooth, one- piece construction which has a balloon of very small wall thickness and which is easy and inexpensive to manufacture, which is reliable in operation, which is capable of vary¬ ing degrees of inflation, and which can be efficiently used for navigating the tortuous paths of relatively small- lumen vessels.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved technique and apparatus for fabricating bal¬ loon catheters allowing the use of a wide range of thermo¬ plastic or thermosensitive materials and requiring rela¬ tively simple and inexpensive fabrication equipment.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved completely flexible balloon catheter which includes an integral balloon of very small wall thickness and which is provided with a calibrated leak orifice for enabling a substantial range of f nctions, such as selec¬ tive angiography of a vessel located either proximal or distal to an occluded section of the vessel, injection of desired material for blocking or isolating a tumor, injec¬ tion of radiopaque materials for tumor staining, or the like, supplying chemotherapeutic agents locally, or for other desired purposes. A still further object of the invention is to pro¬ vide an improved balloon catheter which has a smooth unin¬ terrupted external contour and has complete flexibility

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for accomplishing its function namely, which is capable o traversing 1 mm and smaller vessels while being free to flex over small radii of less than one-half of the vessel diameter so that it can readily enter smaller branch ves- sels located at acute angles, the construction being such as to provide safety from accidental disintegration or separation into segments or pieces in critical areas of the body where harm may be incurred to a patient, such as in the area of the brain or lungs. A still further object of the Invention is to provid a novel and improved safe and reliable design for a bal¬ loon catheter which offers a greater choice than was pre¬ viously available of materials from which the balloon catheter may be constructed, and which allows miniaturiza tion to an extent heretofore unobtainable to occlude smal vessels, and which allows passage of various liquids through the catheter under controlled conditions, the im¬ proved balloon catheter being readily fabricated from conventional materials, and wherein its manufacture readi ly lends itself to large scale production methods.

Brief Description of Drawings

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and claims, and from the accompanying drawings, wherein: Figure 1 is an enlarged longitudinal cross-sectional view of the inflated balloon and adjacent tube portion of a balloon catheter constructed in accordance with the pre¬ sent invention.

Figure 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view si i- lar to Figure 1 but showing.a balloon catheter with a calibrated leak orifice according to the present invention

Figure 3 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the structure of Figure 2, with the balloon element re¬ tracted into the catheter tube by suction. Figure 4 is a diagrammatic illustration of a typical

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apparatus for fabricating a balloon catheter employing the fabrication technique of the present invention.

Figure 5 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical cross- sectional view showing the use of a contoured sleeve or mould employed for shaping a balloon, with the apparatus of Figure 4.

Best Mode for Carrying Out the Invention

Referring to the drawings, in Figure..!, a catheter tube 11 is provided with an integral terminal balloon 12 in accordance with the present invention, shown in in¬ flated condition. The catheter tube may comprise any suit¬ able thermoplastic or the_rmosensi ive material that can be made in the form of tubing, for example, polyurethanes, copolyester polymers, thermoplastic rubbers, silicon-poly- carbonate copolymers, polyethylene ethylvinyl—acetate, or combinations of these and/or others. Tubing of a predeter¬ mined wall thickness-to-diameter relationship is selected so that when the balloon 12 ' is produced it results in a durable yet compliant membrane. This could range from 1 mil to 20 mils wall thickness * of the balloon, depending upon the overall diameter of the tubing and the size of the balloon desired. Also, the thickness of the balloon membrane can be regulated. For example, a 40 mil dia¬ meter tube 11 with a 2 mil wall thickness could readily produce a 100 mil diameter balloon, or a 5 mil wall tube could produce such a 100 mil diameter balloon, except that the balloon membrane would be thinner. Therefore one can tailor the characteristics of the balloon to suit a particular application. Length, diameter and shape of the balloon can also be regulated.

In a preferred embodiment, for example, for a 40 mil diameter tube 11, the wall thickness of the balloon is 5 mils or less. A balloon wall thickness of 2 mils has been employed with success. As was previously mentioned herein,a balloon catheter such as is shown in Figure 1 can be employed for tempor-

arily or permanently blocking vessels of any size. More specifically, as also mentioned above, temporary blocking finds special utility in achieving the following purposes: (1) the clinical and electrophysiological study of the collateral blood supply of a vascular system distal to an occluded vessel, (.2} the angiographic investigation of the collateral blood flow from systems adjacent to that of an occluded vessel, (3) trails of the therapeutic effect of occluding a vessel functioning as a shunt, or the afferent vessel of an arteriovenous aneurysm, and (4) the study of effects accruing from the reduction or eli¬ mination of blood flow in a vessel.

It will be seen from Figure 1 that the balloon 12 is an integral part of the wall of the cathetic tubing and is free of seams or joints that might be subject to leak¬ age or rupture.

Figure 2 illustrates a balloon catheter similar to Figure 1 but with a calibrated leak nozzle 13 formed as a terminal lumen for the balloon, designated at 12'. The thin-walled balloon 12 or 12' may be retracted into the catheter tubing 11, as shown in Figure 3, by applying light suction to -the tube, using a syringe or other suitable suction means connected to the distal end of the catheter tubing 11, whereupon the balloon immedia- tely and completely retracts. This results in a "dis¬ appearing" balloon with a straight smooth-walled catheter. This can be moved along unobstructedly until it reaches a point further within a vascular network, for example, where it then becomes advantageous to deploy the balloon (by applying positive fluid pressure to the catheter) and allow the flow of blood to take over and push against the balloon for forward movement (i.e., propulsion). Once the catheter has performed its function (as previously des¬ cribed) the balloon is readily retracted into the lumen proper of the tube 11 by applying slight suction to the exterior distal end of the catheter tube. Even though the small leak nozzle (of the modification of Figure 2)exists

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at the balloon end, it does not interfere with the retrac¬ tion, and the balloon readily collapses. The invaginated balloon is then out of the way and allows for smooth with¬ drawal of the catheter. To form the balloon, the catheter tubing is heated locally, i.e., in the-.area where the balloon is desired, until the tubing is soft and/or semi-molten. The exact temperature of the plastic and the amount of heat requir¬ ed to be applied will vary, depending upon the softening temperature of the material being used, but will usually be within the 100-250° C range. At this stage the tubing 11 is stretched lengthwise, causing the heated portion to greatly narrow to form a constriction. Any size restric¬ tion can be obtained by regulating the amount of heat applied, the speed of application, the time, and the length of pulling. Openings of capillary size (or total closure) may be achieved. Excess tubing is cut off at the constriction upon completion of the pulling step, and/or coincident with the cutting the heat is removed and the balloon 12 or 12' is formed by applying a predetermined amount of gas pressure to the * inner lumen of the tubing. This pressure causes a circumferential expansion of the area which has been heated selectively. Most thermoplas¬ tic or thermosensitive materials will lose their heat in a matter of seconds and will "set" permanently into this inflated configuration. More rapid cooling can be pro¬ vided by passing air, mist or water over the previously heated surfaces. The size and shape of a plain spherical balloon is regulated by the amount of heat applied, the length of the area that receives the heat, and the press¬ ure and/or volume of the ga * s applied. Unusual sizes and shapes can be obtained, if desired, by providing an inter¬ nally contoured sleeve 20, defining the desired size and shape, of glass, metal or similar heat dissipating sub- stance around the balloon to serve as a mould, as shown in Figure 5.

The balloon 12, without the terminal lumen element

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13, is made in the same fashion as the balloon 12', excep that the heating time and temperature to form the capill¬ ary are extended to a point where a permanent welding or fusion of the end of the balloon-defining thinned wall area occurs, closing off said end.

Figure 4 diagrammatically illustrates a typical app¬ aratus for performing the above-described method. The tub ing 11 is held in the. apparatus by a spring-loaded clamp

14 at one end and is supportingly wound on a capstan spoo or pulley 15 at the other end. " The capstan spool or pulle

15 serves to immobilize the tubing 11 without undue strai on collapse of the tubing lumen. A heating coil 16,includ ing resistance wire, such as nichrome wire, surrounds the tubing 11 near its clamped end. A current regulating device of conventional design, shown at 17, and a timer 18 control the amount of energy imparted to the coil 16. In response to localized heating of the tubing by the coi 16, the spring-loaded clamp 14 elongates the tubing local ly to narrow its lumen, and at the same time the heated coil radiates heat to the area 19 above the narrowed lumen portion which will subsequently become the balloon. The clamp 14 and coil 16 are mounted together and move as one assembly.

The clamp 14 is suitably coupled to a conventional pressure control mechanism 21 connected to the tubing 11 at the far end thereof, allowing pressure-controlled gas to enter the lumen of the tubing. The conventional press¬ ure control mechanism 21 can be of a type comprising a solenoid-actuated drive for a syringe or other piston- actuated device. Gas pressure and volume may be further controlled by a conventional regulator 22 having a press¬ ure gauge 23. The spring loading of the clamp 14 may be provided by a suitable spring 24 resiliently connecting clamp 14 to an adjacent stationary anchoring member,shown at 25 ' .

While certain specific embodiments of improved bal¬ loon catheters and a method and apparatus for forming

sa e have been disclosed in the foregoing description, it will be understood that various modifications within the scope of the invention may occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, it is intended that adaptations and modi- fications should and are intended to be comprehended with- ing the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments.

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