Introduction: Hybrid guidewires are commonly used in urology due to the advantage of an atraumatic hydrophilic tip, which facilitates negotiating tight areas, coupled with an unkinkable nitinol core shaft that is easy to work over due to the Teflon coating. Our aim was to compare the physical and mechanical properties of five commercially available hybrid guidewires to assess their characteristics and functionality. Methods: In vitro testing was performed on the following straighttipped 0.035 inch guidewires: Sensor™ (Boston Scientific), Solo™ Plus (Bard), UltraTrack (Olympus), Rio Tracer™ (Rocamed), and Motion™ (Cook). We evaluated characteristics impacting function (tip flexibility, shaft stiffness, lubricity) and safety (perforation force). Measurements included tip flexibility, lubricity, shaft buckling, and force required to perforate a sheet of aluminum foil. Results: The Motion had the highest tip-bending force (p<0.00001). The Rio Tracer had the stiffest shaft (p<0.00001), followed by the Solo Plus and the Motion, which were significantly stiffer than the Sensor and UltraTrack (p<0.00001). The Solo Plus and UltraTrack had the greatest perforation force (p=0.00023), and the Rio Tracer had the lowest perforation force (p=0.016) when compared to the Sensor. There was no significant difference in frictional force between the five guidewires (p=0.1516). Conclusions: The Solo Plus and UltraTrack required the greatest force to perforate, which conveys a higher safety margin. The RioTracer is the stiffest guidewire, which may be beneficial for instrument insertion with the tradeoff of having a lower perforation force. The clinical significance of higher tip-bending forces (unfavourable) and higher shaft-bending forces (favourable) deserve further investigation.
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