2022/10/26 | Research | In-vitro & Organs-on-Chip

Leveraging fluid dynamics to improve urinary stents

Ureteral stents are frequently employed in urological practice to maintain and reinstate the drainage of urine in the upper urinary tract following obstructions of the ureter (due to stones, tumors etc.). The optimal design in terms of urine drainage and zero blockages (caused by encrustation and biofilm), does not exist yet. ARTORG Urogenital Engineering group and the Department of Urology of the Inselspital have joined forces to understand and overcome the limitations of existing ureteral stents, aiming at developing and investigating new stents based on innovative fluid mechanical approaches. Two studies summarize the current results.

Researchers of the Urogenital Engineering group have developed an in-vitro platform to simulate the dynamics of bladder filling and emptying and are currently investigating the interplay between urine flow, encrustation and biofilm to improve the performance of ureteral stents.

A recently published study has underlined the role played by the sizes of stent lumen and stent side holes on urine flow (i.e. drainage properties) as well as on wall shear stress. These findings are relevant for the development of novel stent designs, with reduced encrustation, as low shear stress regions are normally associated with higher encrustation and risk of blockage.
(Read the study)

In another recently published paper, the effects of vesicoureteral reflux (i.e. backflow from bladder to kidneys which is typical in stented ureters) on stent encrustation patterns were investigated using the in-vitro platform and compared with stents retrieved from patients. Results suggest that this reflux importantly contributes to the dynamics of the upper urinary tract with indwelling stents and its influence should be addressed in future in-vitro and clinical studies.
(Read the study)


Urogenital Engineering

Functional Urology Research