SANTA ROSA -- Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT) received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its Integrity Coronary Stent System, the company announced today.

The metal stent system is based on an advance in biomedical engineering called continuous sinusoid technology that enables the development of other breakthrough device concepts such as polymer-free drug-filled stents, Medtronic said.

Instead of rings, the technology allows each stent to be made from a single wire, offering improved ease of delivery to the damaged blood vessel. The Integrity bare metal stent now joins the Medtronic drug-eluting Endeavor stent on the U.S. market. Outside the U.S. both stent systems are available in 100 countries.

According to Sean Salmon, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s coronary and peripheral division, clinicians “are intrigued at what else might be possible with continuous sinusoid technology, including the potential for a drug-filled stent which could obviate the need for a polymer to regulate drug elution by using holes on the surface of a hollow tube.”

Medtronic’s CardioVascular business, which develops coronary, peripheral and aortic stent systems, employs about 800 in Santa Rosa