Features of guidewires
Guidewires are available in numerous configurations. The selection of wire type depends on the intended application. Defining characteristics include the following:
- • Length: Wires are available in lengths from 70 cm to more than 300 cm. Short wires may be used for obtaining vascular access or placing drains. Longer 300-cm wires are used in catheter exchanges or to perform procedures at a great distance from the access site.
- • Diameter: The most commonly used wires are 0.035 inch, 0.038 inch, or 0.018 inch in diameter. Wires 0.010 inch are available for special applications, such as cerebral interventions. The size of the wire should be selected based on the catheter used and the intended application.
- • Stiffness: Wires vary from very floppy to extremely stiff.
- • Coating: Some wires may have a hydrophilic coating. When wet, these wires become very slippery, which may facilitate the crossing of tight stenoses.
- • Tip configuration: Wires have specialized tips that have been engineered for specific applications. Some wires have preformed angles to assist in the selection of vessels. Other wires have floppy or atraumatic tips to prevent vascular injury. Some specialized wires have tips that can be shaped during a procedure to accomplish a specific task.