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All About Medical Balloon Catheter

Balloon catheters are used in a variety of minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including vasodilation, occlusion, stent placement, and more.

There are many factors to consider when designing a balloon catheter, including the application, balloon type, catheter type, and device performance requirements.

There are three main types of balloons:

Unsuitable (high pressure) balloons are usually made of polyester or nylon. They are used for applications where a balloon needs to be inflated to a certain diameter and apply high pressure to open a blockage or dilate a blood vessel. You can find more information about medical balloon testing via

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Semi-compatible (medium pressure) balloons are usually made of Pebax or higher durability polyurethane. They are used in applications where you need a medium to high pressure but want more compliance from a mismatched balloon and more flexibility to facilitate delivery.

Compatible balloons (elastomers) are usually made of polyurethane or silicone. They increase by volume, not pressure.

Type of catheter

Most balloon catheters require support to achieve the column strength required to position and move the catheter into position. There are three common types of catheter designs:

A balloon catheter (OTW) has a cable that runs the length of the catheter.

Rapid Release Balloon Catheters (RX) only have conductors in a short section (about 25 cm) which saves time compared to moving the guides along the catheter.

Fixed-wire balloon (FW) catheters have a wire core embedded within the catheter, eliminating the need for wire to move the catheter to the treatment site.