A system for removing an occlusion from a vessel. The system utilizes a shape memory polymer device for acting upon the occlusion. A transport vehicle moves a shape memory material through the vessel. The shape memory material is adapted to move from a first unexpanded coil shape to move through or around the occlusion, to a second expanded coil shape for acting upon the occlusion. A heat transfer mechanism is operatively connected to the shape memory material and is adapted to transfer heat to the shape memory material to move the shape memory material from the first shape to the second shape. The transport vehicle and the shape memory polymer material is withdrawn through the conduit carrying the occlusion matter. The system may include a second shape memory polymer device situated so that the occlusion material is gripped from both sides to facilitate removal.
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.