Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Nickels and tines: the myth of nickel allergy in intracranial stents


Background Most intracranial stents contain nickel alloy, and nickel allergy or hypersensitivity is common. Neurological injury following endovascular treatment with a nickel containing intracranial stent has been reported in patients with purported nickel allergy, but it is unclear whether these reactions represent true nickel hypersensitivity. We quantified nickel release from commonly used intracranial stents to investigate whether such stents should be avoided in patients with nickel allergy.

Methods We examined nickel release from seven commonly used intracranial stents: Enterprise, LVIS Jr, Neuroform, Wingspan, Zilver, Pipeline Flex Embolization Device, and Surpass Evolve. We incubated each stent in human plasma-like media for 30 days. Dimethylglyoxime (DMG) spot testing was performed on each stent to detect released nickel at 0 and 30 days. Inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) was then used to quantify the nickel concentration of the media at 30 days. Nickel currency and nickel standard for atomic absorption spectrometry were used as positive controls.

Results DMG spot tests indicated nickel release only from nickel currency at 0 and 30 days of incubation. No nickel release was detected from any stent at 30 days using ICP-OES.

Conclusions Nickel release from commonly used intracranial stents is negligible. These results suggest that previously reported hypersensitivity to these stents may be misattributed to nickel allergy, and that patients with nickel allergy may be safely treated with select nickel-containing stents.

  • stent
  • aneurysm

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article. Raw data will be made available through any reasonable direct request. Not applicable.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles