Enhanced biocompatibility of Nitinol via surface treatment and alloying

Waseem Haider, Florida International University


It is projected that by 2020, there will be 138 million Americans over 45, the age at which the increased incidence of heart diseases is documented. Many will require stents. This multi-billion dollar industry, with over 2 million patients worldwide, 15% of whom use Nitinol stents have experienced a decline in sales recently, due in part to thrombosis. It is a sudden blood clot that forms inside stents. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration and American Heart Association are calling for a new generation of stents, new designs and different alloys that are more adaptable to the arteries. The future of Nitinol therefore depends on a better understanding of the mechanisms by which Nitinol surfaces can be rendered stable and inert. In this investigation, binary and ternary Nitinol alloys were prepared and subjected to various surface treatments such as electropolishing (EP), magnetoelectropolishing (MEP) and water boiling & passivation (W&P). In vitro corrosion tests were conducted on Nitinol alloys in accordance with ASTM F 2129-08. The metal ions released into the electrolyte during corrosion tests were measured by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS). Biocompatibility was assessed by observing the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) on the surface of Nitinol alloys. Static and dynamic immersion tests were performed by immersing the Nitinol alloys in cell culture media and measuring the amount of metal ions released in solution. Sulforhodamine B (SRB) assays were performed to elucidate the effect of metal ions on the growth of HUVEC cells. The surfaces of the alloys were studied using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) respectively. Finally, wettability and surface energy were measured by Contact Angle Meter, whereas surface roughness was measured by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). All the surface treated alloys exhibited high resistance to corrosion when compared with untreated alloys. SRB assays revealed that Ni and Cu ions exhibited greater toxicity than Cr, Ta and Ti ions on HUVEC cells. EP and MEP alloys possessed relatively smooth surfaces and some were composed of nickel oxides instead of elemental nickel as determined by XPS. MEP exhibited lowest surface energy and lowest surface roughness.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Haider, Waseem, "Enhanced biocompatibility of Nitinol via surface treatment and alloying" (2010). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3470220.