Artery stiffness affects circulation system performance and tends to increase with arterial plaque build-up and calcification in patients with arterial disease. The usual quantitative characterization of artery stiffness in terms of compliance is the inverse of stiffness, flexibility, or softness of the artery.

Atherectomy systems were developed with the intent of removing plaque and increasing arterial lumen size. An additional benefit of compliance change has been recently observed, but not thoroughly investigated. Increased artery compliance may not only be due to removal of the relatively stiff often localized plaque but also due to the other mechanical effects on artery structures.

While not directly addressing the design of new medical devices, the research and results are relevant to device design on two fronts. One is the recognition and clarification of some essential effects of mechanical treatments, even if not included in the original development of devices. The other one is the...

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