ATHERECTOMY DEVICES AND METHODS
The devices and methods generally relate to treatment of occluded body lumens. In particular, the present devices and method relate to removal of the occluding material from the blood vessels as well as other body lumens.
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This filing is a non-provisional of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/806,417 entitled “Atherectomy Device” filed Jun. 30, 2006 and is a non-provisional of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/820,475 entitled “Atherectomy Device” filed Jul. 26, 2006, the entirety of each of which are hereby incorporated reference.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The devices and methods described below generally relate to treatment of occluded body lumens. In particular, the present devices and method relate to removal of the occluding material from the blood vessels as well as other body lumens.
2. Description of the Background Art
Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease. In this disease, lesions of the arteries are formed by accumulation of plaque and neointimal hyperplasia causing an obstruction of blood flow. Often plaque is friable and may dislodge naturally or during an endovascular procedure, leading to embolization of a downstream vessel.
Endovascular clearing procedures to reduce or remove the obstructions to restore luminal diameter allows for increased blood flow to normal levels are well known. Removing the plaque has the effect of removing diseased tissue and helps to reverse the disease. Maintaining luminal diameter for a period of time (several to many weeks) allows remodeling of the vessel from the previous pathological state to a more normal state. Finally, it is the goal of an endovascular therapy to prevent short term complications such as embolization or perforation of the vessel and long term complications such as ischemia from thrombosis or restenosis.
Various treatment modalities may help to accomplish treatment goals. In atherectomy, plaque is cut away, or excised. Various configurations are used including a rotating cylindrical shaver or a fluted cutter. The devices may include shielding by a housing for safety. The devices may also remove debris via trapping the debris in the catheter, in a downstream filter, or aspirating the debris. In some cases a burr may be used instead of a cutter, particularly to grind heavily calcified lesions into very small particle sizes. Aspiration may also be used with a burr-type atherectomy device.
Balloon angioplasty is another type of endovascular procedure. Balloon angioplasty expands and opens the artery by both displacing the plaque and compressing it. Balloon angioplasty is known to cause barotrauma to the vessel from the high pressures required to compress the plaque. This trauma leads to an unacceptably high rate of restenosis. Furthermore, this procedure may not be efficient for treatment of elastic-type plaque tissue, where such tissue can spring back to occlude the lumen.
When clearing such obstructions it is desirable to protect the vessel wall or wall of the body lumen being cleared and to debulk substantially all of a lesion. In additional cases, the procedure that clears obstructions may also be coupled with placement of an implant within the lumen. For example, it may be desirable to deploy a stent to maintain patency of a vessel for a period of time and/or to achieve local drug delivery by having the stent elute a drug or other bioactive substance.
On their own, stents fail to perform well in the peripheral vasculature for a variety of reasons. A stent with the necessary structural integrity to supply sufficient radial force to reopen the artery often does not perform well in the harsh mechanical environment of the peripheral vasculature. For example, the peripheral vasculature encounters a significant amount of compression, torsion, extension, and bending. Such an environment may lead to stent failure (strut cracking, stent crushing, etc.) that eventually compromises the ability of the stent to maintain lumen diameter over the long-term. On the other hand, a stent that is able to withstand the harsh mechanical aspects of the periphery often will not supply enough radial force to open the vessel satisfactorily. In many cases, medical practitioners desire the ability to combine endovascular clearing procedures with stenting.
Accordingly, a need remains for devices that allow for improved atherectomy devices that clear materials from body lumens (such as blood vessels) where the device includes features to allow for a safe, efficient and controlled fashion of shaving or grinding material within the body lumen.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Devices and methods described herein provide improved means of clearing obstructions within body lumens, especially the vasculature. The features of the devices and methods allow for controlled removal of occlusive materials. In some variations, the methods and devices also have features to convey the materials away from the operative site without the need to remove the devices from the body lumen. Additional aspects include controlled rates of tissue removal as well as other safety features to prevent accidental cutting of the lumen wall. Although the devices and methods described herein discuss removal of materials from a blood vessel, in certain cases the devices and methods have applicability in other body lumens as well. It should be noted that the variations and features of the devices described below may be incorporated selectively or in combination with a basic device configuration that includes a flexible body having a cutter head, where the cutter head includes a housing and a cutter, where the housing and cutter are able to rotate relative to each other. Variations include a cutter that rotates within the housing, a housing that rotates about the cutter, and combinations thereof.
One variation of the device described herein includes a device configured to remove material from body structures. The device may be a vascular device and have the required structure and configuration to navigate tortuous anatomy. Alternatively, the device may be a cutter that has features that are desired when used in other parts of the anatomy.
In any case, such a device may include a catheter body having a proximal end and a distal end, a cutter assembly located at the distal end of the catheter body, the cutter assembly comprising a housing having at least one opening and a cutter having at least one cutting surface configured to rotate relative to the housing, where movement between the housing opening and the cutting surface removes material located therebetween, a rotating shaft extending through the catheter body and coupled to the cutter, the shaft having a proximal end adapted to couple to a first rotating mechanism, and a deflecting member extending along the catheter body, such that movement of the deflecting member causes deflection of the cutter assembly relative to an axis of the catheter.
Variations of the deflecting member may include steerable sheaths adapted to deflect in shape. In some variations the steerable sheath may include a deflecting wire extending through a portion of the sheath, such that axial movement of the deflecting wire deflects the sheath. The deflecting wire can be affixed to the cutter assembly, to a portion of the catheter body that extends out of the deflecting sheath, or to other parts of the device as needed.
The deflecting member can also include a pre-shaped mandrel, or tube where such features are slidable within or relative to the device to produce movement of the cutting head relative to an axis of the device. The devices described herein may have any number of features that allow for locking the device after it is articulated. This feature provides a consistent diameter when sweeping or navigating through the anatomy.
As discussed herein, some variations of the devices have the ability to articulate. This articulation allows for steering the device to the target site as well as creating a sweeping motion of tissue removal. Accordingly, sheath used in the device can be rotatable about the catheter body, or about an axis of the catheter.
The devices described herein may have a cutter assembly having a portion of its housing having a curved surface and where the opening forms a plane across the curved surface such that as the cutting surface rotates across the opening, a portion of the cutting surface extends out of the housing through the opening. The cutter assembly may also have various other features as described below that improve the safety of the device as it is articulated while cutting. Furthermore the cutter may have a number of features to impel or drive cut tissue into the cutter assembly for eventual removal by one or more conveying members.
As noted, the devices described herein may have one or more conveying members that convey materials and/or fluids through the device. Such a feature is useful to remove cut tissue and debris from the site during the procedure. In some variations, the device may include multiple conveyors to deliver fluids and remove debris. However, the devices of the present invention may also have containers for use in capturing debris or other materials generated during the procedure.
Another feature for use with the inventions herein is the use of a burr rotatably coupled to a tip of the device. The burr can be useful to remove tissue that is otherwise not conducive to cutting with the cutter assembly.
In another variation, the invention may comprise a device having a straightening tube, with a straight distal portion, a catheter body having a proximal end and a distal end, the catheter body having a flexible section located towards the distal end, such that when located in the straight distal portion of the straightening tube the flexible section is less curved, a cutter assembly located at the distal end of the catheter body, the cutter assembly comprising a housing having at least one opening and a cutter having at least one cutting surface configured to rotate relative to the housing, where movement between the housing opening and the cutting surface removes material located therebetween, and a rotating shaft extending through the catheter body and coupled to the cutter, the torque shaft having a proximal end adapted to couple to a first rotating mechanism.
In such a case, placement of the straight distal portion over the catheter allows for manipulation of the degree of curvature of the catheter. This feature allows for steering of the device.
As described herein, such a device may have the ability to sweep over an arc to deliver a larger cutting diameter than the diameter of the cutter assembly.
The devices described herein may use a guidewire for advancement through the body. In such cases the devices will have guide-wire lumens located within or about the catheter. Alternatively, a guide-wire section may be affixed to a portion of the device.
Devices of the present invention typically include a torque shaft to deliver rotational movement to components in the cutter assembly. Alternatively, a torque shaft or other such assembly may be used to produce the sweeping action described herein. In any case, the torque shaft may include one or more lumens. Alternatively, the torque shaft may be a solid or hollow member. Variations of the torque shaft also include those aspects known in catheter-type devices such as counter-wound coils, stiffening members, etc. In some variations, the torque shaft may have the conveying member integrally formed about the exterior or an interior surface of the shaft. Alternatively, or in combination, the conveying member may be placed on (or within) the torque shaft as described herein.
The invention also includes various methods of debulking material within body structures. These structures include occluded blood vessels (whether partially or totally occluded), various organs, cavities within the body, or other body lumens.
In one variation a method includes inserting a catheter body having a cutter assembly within the blood vessel, rotating the cutter assembly to remove the material and form a first opening in the body lumen, deflecting the first cutter assembly relative to an axis of the catheter body, rotating the catheter body while rotating the cutter assembly to form a second opening in the body lumen where the second is larger than the first opening.
The methods may include the use of any of the devices or features of the devices described herein. In one variation, the methods include circulating fluid for contrast to better visualize the obstruction.
As noted herein, combinations of aspects of the devices, systems, and methods described herein may be combined as needed. Furthermore, combinations of the devices, systems and methods themselves are within the scope of the disclosure.
In another variation, the device 100 may have a catheter body that comprises a soft or flexible portion. In one variation, this soft or flexible portion may be on a single side of the device 100 to allow flexure of the device 100 to articulate the cutting head. The flexure may be obtained with a curved sheath, mandrel, or other means as known to those skilled in the art.
The device 100 may also include a vacuum source or pump 152 to assist in evacuation of debris created by operation of the device. Any number of pumps or vacuum sources may be used in combination with the device. For example, a peristaltic pump may be used to drive materials from the device and into a waste container.
It may be advantageous to rotatably couple the torque shaft to the drive unit electromagnetically, without physical contact. For example, the torque shaft 114 can have magnetic poles installed at the proximal end, within a tubular structure that is attached to the sheath around the torque shaft. The stationary portion of the motor can be built into a handle that surrounds the tubular structure. This allows the continuous aspiration through the sheath without the use of high speed rotating seals.
As shown in
The geometry of the cutter 108 and housing 104 can be used to tailor the desired degree of cutting. The housing 104 and orientation of the openings 106 can be used to limit the depth of cutting by the cutter 108. In addition, the distal end of the housing 104 may be domed shaped while the proximal end may have a cylindrical or other shape. For example, by creating larger windows 106 in the housing a larger portion of cutter 108 may be exposed and the rate of cutting increased (for a given rotation speed). By placing the cutting window 106 on a convex portion of the housing, the debulking effectiveness is much less sensitive to the alignment of the cutter housing to the lesion, than if the window were on the cylindrical portion of the housing. This is a key performance limitation of traditional directional atherectomy catheters. In addition, placement of the window on the convex portion of the housing creates a secant effect (as described below).
However, to even out the torque profile of the device when cutting, the cutter 108 is configured such that the number edges/cutting surfaces 112 of the flutes 110 that are aligned with the housing openings 106 does not vary throughout the rotational cycle. This prevents the catheter from being overloaded with torque spikes and cyclic torque variations due to multiple cutting edges/flutes engaging with tissue in synchrony. In other words, the length of the cutting surface 112 exposed through the openings 106 of the housing 104 remains the same or constant.
In the variation shown in
As shown in
By controlling the number of cutting edges 112 that are exposed through openings 106 in the housing 104, it is possible to control the relative amount of cutting engagement (both length of cutting and depth of cut, together which control the volume of tissue removed per unit rotation of the cutter). These features allow independent control of the maximum torque load imposed on the device 100. By carefully selecting the geometry of the flutes and or cutting edges 112 relative to the openings 106 in the housing, it is possible to further control the balance of torque. For example, the torque load imposed on the device is caused by the shearing of tissue when the cutter edge passes the rotationally distal edge of the window. If all cutter edges simultaneously shear, as for example when the number of housing windows is an even multiple of cutter edges, the torque varies cyclically with rotation of the cutter. By adjusting the number of cutters and windows so one is not an even multiple of the other (for example, by using 5 windows on the housing and 4 cutting edges on the cutter), it is possible to have a more uniform torque (tissue removal from shearing action) during each cycle of the cutter.
This feature permits decoupling of the device 100 and guidewire 128 by merely pulling the guidewire 128 out of the track 136 (as opposed to needing to remove the guidewire 128 from the length of the device 136). One benefit of such a feature is that the guidewire 128 may remain close to the site while being decoupled from the device 100. Accordingly, the surgeon can advance additional devices over the guidewire and to the site in a rapid fashion. This configuration allows for quick separation of the catheter from the wire and introduction of another catheter over the wire since most of the wire is outside of the catheter.
As shown in
In some variations, the conveying member 118 may be integral to the shaft 114 (such as by cutting the conveying member 118 into the torque shaft 114 or by extruding the torque shaft 114 directly with a helical groove or protrusion. In an additional variation as shown in
As noted above, the conveying member 118 can be wound in the same directional sense as the cutter 108 and in the same direction of rotation to effect aspiration of tissue debris. The impeller action of the cutter 108 moves the tissue debris from inside the housing 104 openings 106 into the torque shaft. The pitch of the cutting edges 112 may be matched in to that of the conveying member 118 to further optimize aspiration. Alternatively, the pitch of the conveying member 118 may be changed to increase the speed at which material moves once it enters the conveying member 118. As discussed herein, debris can be evacuated outside the body by the conveying member 118 action along the length of the catheter and with or without supplement of the vacuum 152 pump connected to the catheter handle. Alternatively, the debris may be accumulated in a reservoir within the device.
The device may also include a ferrule 116, as shown in
In one variation of the device, the housing 104 is connected to the catheter body 120 via the ferrule 116 and thus is static. The cutter 108 rotates relative to the housing 104 so the cutting surface 112 on the cutter 108 cooperates with openings 106 on the housing 104 to shear or cleave tissue and trap the tissue inside the housing so that it can be evacuated in a proximal direction using the impeller action of the helical flutes and vacuum from the torque shaft.
The ferrule 116 can have a distal bearing surface to bear against the proximal surface of the cutter 108 and keeps the cutter axially stable in the housing 104. It can be rigidly bonded/linked to the housing 104 using solder, brazing, welding, adhesives (epoxy), swaging, crimped, press-fit, screwed on, snap-locked or otherwise affixed. As shown, the ferrule 116 can have holes or other rough features that allow for joining with the catheter body. While adhesives and heat fusing may be employed in the construction, such features are not required. Often adhesives are unreliable for a small surface contact and heat fusing can cause the tube to degrade. The use of a mechanical locking ring 126 allows the cutting assembly 102 to be short. Such a feature is important for maximizing the flexibility of the distal section of the catheter as it is required to navigate tortuosity in blood vessels.
In another aspect of the invention, devices 100 can be adapted to steer to remove materials that are located towards a side of the body passage. Such devices may include a deflecting member that permits adjusting the orientation or offset of the cutter assembly 102 relative to a central axis of the device. In
The ability to steer the device 100 also allows for a sweeping motion when cutting occlusive material.
A number of variations to control the deflection of the device 100 are described herein. For example, as shown in
In addition, the shape of the housing 104 as well as the location of the windows 106 can be chosen so that when the device 100 is substantially aligned with the lesion, or engages it at less than some critical attack angle, it will cut effectively. However, when pivoted at an angle greater than the critical angle, the cutting edges or grinding element will not engage the lesion as shown in
As mentioned above, variations of the device 100 allow directional control of the cutting assembly 102. In those variations where a slidable, torqueable sheath advances relative to the catheter body 122 (either external or internal to the catheter body) that can be flexed at the distal end. With the sheath flexed the catheter tip is pointed in the direction of the flex and the degree of bias is affected by the amount of flex on the sheath. The sheath can be rotated about the catheter or vessel long axis to change the direction of the cutting assembly. Also as noted above, this rotation can also effect a sweep of the cutting assembly 102 in an arc or a circle larger than a diameter of the cutter 102 (e.g. see
As shown in
In another variation of the device 100, as shown in
In addition to providing a means for deflecting the catheter, and allowing the user to sweep the distal tip to engage the lesion as desired, it is also possible to link a separate torque control device to manually or automatically control the sweep of the catheter, independent of the axial control of the catheter insertion and the rotation control of the cutter within the housing. Automatic control may be performed open-loop by user entered settings and activating a switch, or with feedback control designed to further optimize cutting effectiveness, procedural efficiency, and safety. Example structures of how to lock the articulation of the sheath/catheter into place include a lockable collar, a stopper, and friction lock detect mechanisms with one or more springs, coils, or hinges.
Additional components may be incorporated into the devices described herein. For example, it can be desirable to incorporate transducers into the distal region of the catheter to characterize the plaque or to assess plaque and wall thickness and vessel diameter for treatment planning; also transducers may be desired to indicate the progression of debulking or proximity of cutter to vessel wall. For example, pressure sensors mounted on the catheter housing can sense the increase in contact force encountered in the event that the housing is pressed against the vessel wall. Temperature sensors can be used to detect vulnerable plaque. Ultrasound transducers can be used to image luminal area, plaque thickness or volume, and wall thickness. Optical coherence tomography can be used to make plaque and wall thickness measurements. Electrodes can be used for sensing the impedance of contacted tissue, which allows discrimination between types of plaque and also vessel wall. Electrodes can also be used to deliver impulses of energy, for example to assess innervation, to either stimulate or inactivate smooth muscle, or to characterize the plaque (composition, thickness, etc.). For example, transient spasm may be introduced to bring the vessel to a smaller diameter easier to debulk, then reversed either electrically or pharmaceutically. Electrical energy may also be delivered to improve the delivery of drugs or biologic agents, by causing the cell membrane to open in response to the electric stimulation (electroporation). One method of characterization by electrical measurement is electrical impedance tomography.
As shown in
Infusing solutions (flush) into the target treatment site may be desireable. Infused cool saline can prevent heating of blood and other tissue, which reduces the possibility of thrombus or other tissue damage. Heparinized saline can also prevent thrombus and thin out the blood to help maximize effectiveness of aspiration. The flush can also include drugs such as Rapamycin, Paclitaxel or other restenosis-inhibitors. This may help to prevent restenosis and may result in better long term patency. The flush may include paralytics or long-acting smooth muscle relaxants to prevent acute recoil of the vessel.
Another way to infuse fluid is to supply pressurized fluid at the proximal portion of the guidewire lumen (gravity or pressure feed) intravenous bag, for example. A hemostatic seal with a side branch is useful for this purpose; tuohy-borst adapters are one example of a means to implement this.
Balancing the relative amount of infusion versus fluid volume aspirated allows control over the vessel diameter; aspirating more fluid than is instilled will evacuate the vessel, shrinking its diameter, and allow cutting of lesion at a greater diameter than the atherectomy catheter. This has been a problem for certain open cutter designs that use aspiration, because the aggressive aspiration required to trap the embolic particles evacuates and collapses the artery around the cutter blades; this is both a performance issue because the cutter can bog down from too high torque load, and the cutter can easily perforate the vessel. The shielded design described here obviates both problems, and further requires less aggressive aspiration to be effective, giving a wider range of control to the user.
The devices of the present invention may also be used in conjunction with other structures placed in the body lumens. For example, as shown in
Additional Variations of systems include devices 100 having a cutting assembly 170 comprising spinning turbine-like coring cutter 172 as shown in
It is also possible to use the devices and methods described here to restore patency to arterial lesions in the coronary circulation and in the carotid circulation, both by debulking de novo lesions and by debulking in stent restenosis.
The devices and methods described herein also work particularly well in lesions that are challenging to treat with other methods: at bifurcations, in tortuous arteries, and in arteries which are subject to biomechanical stresses (such as in the knee or other joints).
In a further variation of the devices described here, the motor drive unit may be powered by a controller that varies the speed and torque supplied to the catheter to optimize cutting efficiency or to automatically orbit the cutter using variable speed with a fixed flexible distal length of catheter (or providing further orbiting control by controlling the length of the distal flexible section of the catheter).
It is also possible to use feedback control to operate the catheter in a vessel safe mode, so that the rate of cutting is decreased as the vessel wall is approached. This may be accomplished through speed control, or by reducing the degree to which the cutting blades penetrate above the housing window by retracting the cutter axially within the housing. Feedback variables could be by optical (infrared) or ultrasound transducer, or by other transducers (pressure, electrical impedance, etc.), or by monitoring motor performance. Feedback variables may also be used in safety algorithms to stop the cutter, for example in a torque overload situation.
The atherectomy catheter may be further configured with a balloon proximal to the cutter, for adjunctive angioplasty or stent delivery. The catheter may optionally be configured to deliver self-expanding stents. This provides convenience to the user and greater assurance of adjunctive therapy at the intended location where atherectomy was performed.
Further methods include use of similar devices to debulk stenosis in AV hemodialysis access sites (fistulae and synthetic grafts), as well as to remove thrombus. By removing the cutter housing and recessing the fluted cutter within the catheter sheath, a suitable non-cutting thrombectomy catheter may be constructed.
Other methods of use include excising bone, cartilage, connective tissue, or muscle during minimally invasive surgical procedures. For example, a catheter that includes cutting and burr elements may be used to gain access to the spine for performing laminectomy or facetectomy procedures to alleviate spinal stenosis. For this application, the catheter may be further designed to deploy through a rigid cannula over part of its length, or have a rigid portion itself, to aid in surgical insertion and navigation.
For this reason, it is advantageous to couple atherectomy with stenting. By removing material, debulking the lesion, a lesser radial force is required to further open the artery and maintain lumen diameter. The amount of debulking can be tuned to perform well in concert with the mechanical characteristics of the selected stent. For stents that supply greater expansion and radial force, relatively less atherectomy is required for satisfactory result. An alternative treatment approach is to debulk the lesion substantially, which will allow placement of a stent optimized for the mechanical conditions inherent in the peripheral anatomy. In essence, the stent can support itself against the vessel wall and supply mild radial force to preserve luminal patency. The stent may be bioresorbable, and/or drug eluting, with the resorption or elution happening over a period for days to up to 12 weeks or more. A period of 4 to 12 weeks matches well with the time course of remodeling and return to stability as seen in the classic wound healing response, and in particular the known remodeling time course of arteries following stent procedures. In addition, the stent geometry can be optimized to minimize thrombosis by inducing swirl in the blood flow. This has the effect of minimizing or eliminating stagnant or recirculating flow that leads to thrombus formation. Spiral construction of at least the proximal (upstream) portion of the stent will achieve this. It is also beneficial to ensure that flow immediately distal to the stent does not create any stagnant or recirculation zones, and swirl is a way to prevent this also.
In a typical case of a total occlusion, it is also difficult if not impossible to visualize the lumen near the occlusion because any injected contrast agents cannot flow through the occlusion site.
The lumen-creating device 200 can optionally be made to have a shoulder 212 at its distal end, as shown in
Next, a guidewire can be used with a cutter assembly to remove some or all of the remaining mass in the vessel. Alternatively, the initial lumen made may be adequately large without further atherectomy. Technical success is typically less than 30 percent or less than 20 percent residual stenosis. Also, balloon angioplasty with or without stenting may be performed following establishment of a guidewire lumen with a support catheter and a lumen-creating catheter.
Contrast injection and aspiration ports near the distal end of the support circulate contrast agents, enabling the use of fluoroscopy to visualize the lumen adjacent to the total occlusion during diagnosis or treatment. The central lumen 202 of the support catheter 200 can also be used to inject or aspire the contrast agents 208. The contrast agents can circulate through the center lumen 202 in the support catheter 200 and at least one port 206 in various configurations. The fluid can circulate about the distal tip of the catheter, the motion of the fluid being circular as shown in
It is noted that the descriptions above are intended to provide exemplary embodiments of the devices and methods. It is understood that, the invention includes combinations of aspects of embodiments or combinations of the embodiments themselves. Such variations and combinations are within the scope of this disclosure.
50. A vascular device for removing material from body lumens, the device comprising:
- a steering member;
- a catheter body having a stiffer proximal portion and a more flexible distal portion;
- a steering member located along the catheter body, the steering member having a curved section located towards the distal end, where the curved section is more flexible than the stiffer proximal portion of the catheter body such that when located along the flexible portion the flexible distal portion of the catheter body takes the shape of the curved section;
- a cutter assembly located at the distal end of the catheter body, the cutter assembly comprising a housing having at least one opening and a cutter having at least one cutting surface configured to rotate relative to the housing, where movement between the housing opening and the cutting surface removes material located therebetween;
- a rotating shaft extending through the catheter body and coupled to the cutter, the torque shaft having a proximal end adapted to couple to a first rotating mechanism; and
- where on advancement of the curved section of the steering member out of the distal portion of the sheath, the curved section reshapes the catheter body.
51. The device of claim 50, where the deflecting member comprises a mandrel slidably located in the catheter body and extendable out of a distal opening of the catheter body, where upon extending out of the distal opening to push against tissue to deflect the distal end of the catheter body.
52. The device of claim 50, where a portion of the housing comprises a curved surface and the opening forms a plane across the curved surface such that as the cutting surface rotates across the opening, a portion of the cutting surface extends out of the housing through the opening.
53. The device of claim 50, where the torque shaft and cutter each have a lumen allowing for advancement of a guidewire therethrough.
54. The device of claim 50, cutter comprises a plurality of flutes and the cutting surface is an edge of the flute.
55. The device of claim 54, where the edge of the flute is helical.
56. The device of claim 54, where each flute is arranged relative to the openings in the housing such that during a total length of the cutting surface exposed in the housing opening remains the same.
57. The device of claim 50, further including a ferrule linking the housing to the said outer tube on the catheter body.
58. The device of claim 50, where the shaft has at least one helical conveyor member wound about an exterior such that rotation of the torque shaft conveys material across a length of the torque shaft.
59. The device of claim 50, where the helical conveyor member is wound in the same rotational sense as the helical flutes on the cutter.
60. The device of claim 50, where a guide-wire portion is fixedly attached to the cutter.
61. The device of claim 50, where the deflecting member comprises a wire extending along a length of the flexible catheter.
62. The device of claim 50, further comprising a burr rotatably located on a tip of the cutter assembly.
79. A vascular device for removing material from body lumens, the device comprising:
- a catheter body having a proximal portion and a distal portion;
- a steering tube having varying stiffness along its circumference at the distal portion;
- a cutter assembly located at the distal end of the catheter body, the cutter assembly comprising a housing having at least one opening and a cutter having at least one cutting surface configured to rotate relative to the housing, where movement between the housing opening and the cutting surface removes material located there between; and
- the distal portion of the steering tube is attached to the cutter assembly.
80. A device of claim 79, where tension on the steering tube deflects the distal portion of the catheter.
81. A device of claim 79, where compression of the steering tube deflects the distal portion of the catheter.
International Classification: A61B 17/3207 (20060101);