BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Drug-coated balloon therapy for diseased superficial femoral arteries remains controversial. Despite its clinical relevance, only a few computational studies based on simplistic two-dimensional models have been proposed to investigate this endovascular therapy to date. This work addresses the aforementioned limitation by analyzing the drug transport and kinetics occurring during drug-coated balloon deployment in a three-dimensional geometry.
METHODS: An idealized three-dimensional model of a superficial femoral artery presenting with a calcific plaque and treated with a drug-coated balloon was created to perform transient mass transport simulations. To account for the transport of drug (i.e. paclitaxel) released by the device, a diffusion-reaction equation was implemented by describing the drug bound to specific intracellular receptors through a non-linear, reversible reaction. The following features concerning procedural aspects, pathologies and modelling assumptions were investigated: (i) balloon application time (60-180 seconds); (ii) vessel wall composition (healthy vs. calcified wall); (iii) sequential balloon application; and (iv) drug wash-out by the blood stream vs. coating retention, modeled as exponential decay.
RESULTS: The balloon inflation time impacted both the free and specifically-bound drug concentrations in the vessel wall. The vessel wall composition highly affected the drug concentrations. In particular, the specifically-bound drug concentration was four orders of magnitude lower in the calcific compared with healthy vessel wall portions, primarily as a result of reduced drug diffusion. The sequential application of two drug-coated balloons led to modest differences (~15%) in drug concentration immediately after inflation, which became negligible within 10 minutes. The retention of the balloon coating increased the drug concentration in the vessel wall fourfold.
CONCLUSIONS: The overall findings suggest that paclitaxel kinetics may be affected not only by the geometrical and compositional features of the vessel treated with the drug-coated balloon, but also by balloon design characteristics and procedural aspects that should be carefully considered.