The shape memory alloys (SMAs) used in medical devices and implants are biocompatible and should not cause medical problems, according to a study from the University of Maribor, Slovenia.
SMAs are often used in medical implants, blood vessel stents and guide wires for catheters, filters and actuators, but there have been concerns that they are not entirely biocompatible as they contain nickel and copper.
Researchers tested the biocompatibility of SMAs using immune cells from 20 donors and a solution containing copper-aluminium-nickel and nickel-titanium SMAs.
Eighteen out of 20 immune cell cultures grown using the solution showed no significant changes in the production of immune system mediators, while two cultures showed marked immune system response.
The researchers concluded that SMAs are biocompatible in most cases, adding that a simple screening should be sufficient to identify individuals who would have an inflammatory response.