Balloon Catheters and Other Complex Medical Devices – Hydromer Coats Even the Most Unique Geometries!

in Oct 16, 2020

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of Hydromer® Hydrophilic Coatings on life-saving and complex devices such as balloon catheters. These devices are becoming increasingly important to the medical industry, in a wide range of minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. These specialized catheters are mainly used to dilate vessels, open blockages, deliver stents, deliver life-saving medicines, and many other purposes. The main types of these specialty devices include:

  • Noncompliant (high-pressure) balloons – made of polyester or nylon for expanding to a specified diameter and exerting a high pressure.
  • Semi-compliant balloons – made of Pebax or higher-durometer polyurethanes for applications needing mid-high pressures, but better compliance and flexibility.
  • Compliant (elastomeric) balloons – made of polyurethane or silicone and are inflated by volume rather than pressure. They should be able to stretch many times their original size and are often used in applications that require full conformity to or occlude the anatomy.

One of the leading causes of death in the world is Coronary Artery Disease, which affects over 15 million Americans alone. Plaque builds up and blocks proper blood flow to your heart, which can cause severe damage including stroke, heart attack, or even death. Although diet and exercise are the most common advice from experts for decreasing your chances of a heart attack, procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) can offer a faster solution if you already have a blockage. Using an extremely long, thin catheter with a small balloon on its tip, doctors can inflate the balloon at the site of the blockage and compress the plaque against the arterial wall, improving blood flow significantly. The surgeons can then insert a stent into the artery, allowing the heart to continue to get a sufficient supply of blood from the previously blocked artery.  (As pictured here)

However, the balloon catheter alone would not be able to save lives in this way without Hydromer® Hydrophilic Coatings. Envision a surgeon attempting to guide a catheter through the arteries, which are thin, fragile, and uncoated. It would stick, snag, and pull, possibly causing more harm than good. Hydromer is a leader in hydrophilic coating technology, and we have the unique ability to coat even the most complex medical devices. From a thin balloon catheter to an endotracheal tube to a foley catheter, and substrates from Nitinol and Pebax to Silicone, we can formulate a coating and process just for your device specifically.

Our team of engineers, Ph.D. scientists, chemists and product specialists will be able to match a coating to your device, as well as build a custom machine and/or coating process for you if needed. We have the data and knowledge to make the best hydrophilic coating choice for your device. Hydromer Hydrophilic Coatings® are already on medical devices that have been approved by the FDA, which goes to show our products are safe, reliable, and effective.

With over 40 years of experience in the field, Hydromer® is an incredibly trusted name in the medical world. Our coatings have been tried and tested on a wide variety of devices, many of which are still on the market today and have been for many years. Our coatings endure and pass several different tests and certifications, including friction testing for lubricity and durability and dye testing for uniformity. They show low friction time and time again, meaning you get the most out of your coatings. As shown in the graph below, Hydromer® Hydrophilic Coatings significantly lower the force (coefficient of friction) on the device. (As pictured here)

Hydromer is highly qualified and ready to coat even the most intricate devices. No matter the requirements, substrates, or life-saving abilities your device must have, we will work with you to provide the most compatible coating possible. We promise to care for your device as if it were our own. We take pride in our relationships with our customers, so please reach out to us via call, email, text, live chat function or even in person at our FDA registered and ISO certified facility, so we can answer any questions you may have. We look forward to continuing to build on our relationship with you.