Medical Device Coatings- How They Work To Enhance Patient Safety

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Patient safety matters the most to practitioners, and it has become a tad more crucial in the pandemic era when the fear of infections is rampant. But safety goes beyond following hygiene protocols and guidelines during patient diagnostics and treatment. Healthcare professionals need to go the extra mile to ensure medical device safety, and it means additional responsibility for device manufacturers.

Device coatings play a significant role when it comes to the safety, sanitation, and biocompatibility of medical equipment. It makes sense for manufacturers to ensure that they choose the right kind of coatings to ensure quality and compliance for their products. At the same time, practitioners should be aware and vigilant about them as well. Here are the types of medical device coatings.

Hydrophilic surface coatings

Essentially, hydrophilic surface coatings reduce surface friction and improve device wettability to a significant extent. It enables polymeric devices such as tubing and catheters to wet out readily when exposed to moisture so that they can function properly with body fluids and tissues. The coating works like a microscopic sponge that surrounds the device and makes it easy for the fluid to bind to the device material. The effect can be permanent or transient, depending on the material’s need. The transient ones stop conducting fluids over time.

Antimicrobial coatings

When it comes to patient safety during medical and surgical procedures, exposure to germs and infectious diseases is the biggest concern. It is why antimicrobial Coatings are essential for devices, particularly those designed for implantation into the body, such as pacemakers and stents. They come in direct contact with internal organs, so they are capable of spreading infectious diseases. However, an antimicrobial substance can curb the risk and ensure hygiene and safety even during complex and high-risk procedures. These coatings have release functions to enable microbial resistance. The release functions enable them to minimize toxicity in organic tissue and counter infectious bacteria within the body.

Lubricant coatings

Devices that are to be inserted into biological openings or other devices have to be covered with lubricant coatings to ease the insertion process. The lubricant action can alleviate the pain and make it easier for the patient to bear the trauma. It works by reducing static and kinetic friction between the surfaces to ease their contact. Since lubricants enter the body along with medical devices, safety is a critical aspect in this case. Firstly, they must be biocompatible and hemocompatible so that they do not cause adverse reactions. Further, they should not flake or expand on contact with water or other fluids.

Considering the significance of patient safety, all kinds of medical device coatings have to adhere to strict guidelines by the FDA. These guidelines prioritize the reduction of the risk of internal infections and infectious diseases in patients. They also ensure that providers have the safest and the best tools for performing surgical and diagnostic procedures. Hospitals, clinics, and practitioners need to assess the devices and ensure that they are designed and manufactured for safety.

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