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The Perfect Partners: High-Speed BLDC Motors and Atherectomy Devices

July 6, 2023

Optimum Motor Selection for Cardiovascular Applications Series

Cardiovascular devices perform the lifesaving task of clearing arteries of plaque – even maintaining life during surgery – by assisting the heart in pumping blood throughout the body. An essential component of these devices is high-speed miniature motors, which power the drive mechanism. Reliability and performance are key characteristics required of the motion solution; this is understandable, given the critical nature of cardiovascular treatment devices. With the wide array of motor technologies available, it is essential to select the one best suited for the requirement of each device. In this series, we will review the three primary cardiovascular applications – peripheral artery disease treatment devices, thrombolysis treatment devices, and mechanical circulatory support devices – and the ideal motor technology for each.

Part 1 - The Perfect Partners: High-Speed BLDC Motors and Atherectomy Devices

Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory problem where narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to limbs. This is often caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on artery walls, which must be reduced or removed to restore proper blood flow. There are different methods of removing this plaque from the arteries; these include cutting, shaving, and sanding, all of which are employed in motor-driven atherectomy devices. These procedures are responsible for cutting or grinding away the calcified plaque, thus restoring blood flow to obstructed vessels.

Treating Peripheral Artery Disease with Brushless DC Motors

Speed is the primary priority for atherectomy devices, as they must operate quite fast to properly facilitate the plaque’s removal without damaging the vessel. While these devices utilize different motion approaches for grinding and cutting, the key requirement remains the same: a reliable, high-speed brushless DC miniature motor. This motor technology powers the device, matching the application’s demands for speed and precision. Here are a few benefits of utilizing BLDC motors to treat peripheral artery disease:

  • Enhanced Precision and Control. Brushless DC motors provide precise control over rotational speed, allowing surgeons to modify the procedure based on patient needs. The ability to adjust speed and torque ensure optimal plaque removal while minimizing the risk of damage to the arterial wall. This enhanced control enables targeted treatment, resulting in improved patient outcomes and reduced procedural complications.
  • Efficiency and Reliability. This technology’s brushless design reduces friction, heat generation, and wear, resulting in smoother operation and decreased maintenance requirements, while their efficiency translates into increased device longevity and reliability. This reliability is crucial for ensuring consistent performance during complex procedures.
  • Reduced Procedure Time and Patient Discomfort. BLDC motor-powered atherectomy systems offer faster procedure times due to their high rotational speeds and improved cutting efficiency. This helps reduces procedure duration and associated discomfort for the patient.

Portescap Motors are Powering Atherectomy Devices

Portescap’s Ultra EC brushless DC motor platform features two product ranges that are ideal for helping atherectomy devices perform as intended: the ECS and the ECP. The ECS platform is built for speed, delivering speeds up to 73K RPM; the ECP, however, has a lower top-end speed of 63K RPM but offers a more economical package. Both ranges deliver the low noise and vibration required by the procedure, with the U-coil providing/maintaining high output throughout the device’s engagement with the plaque. The 16mm diameter option delivers more than enough torque for all plaque removal methodologies, with 36mm and 52mm length options available as well.

Ultimately the design of atherectomy devices is what drives the motor selection process. Reach out to our engineering experts for assistance with selecting the optimum brushless DC motor for your system!