Bayer MaterialScience LLC recently developed a new family of hydrophilic polyurethane coatings which are intended to combine lubricity and hemocompatibility with the superior mechanical properties for medical devices. Hydrophilic coatings have found use in a variety of medical devices, such as catheters, guidewires, introducers, leads, and endoscopes. Often, reduced friction with tissue during surgical procedures is desired. In other applications, use of hydrophilic polyurethane coatings may give hemocompatibility above and beyond that typically seen with polyurethane.
The new hydrophilic coatings from Bayer MaterialScience are custom designed for the medical industry, but are based on polyurethane coatings technology that has long set the standard for resistance to chemical and physical stresses. The company maintains that the hydrophilic coatings offer low swelling compared with competing products. Two distinct types of formulations are available: aqueous polyurethane dispersions and solvent-borne polyurethane solutions. Certain applications can take advantage of the solvent-free nature and low viscosity of aqueous dispersions. In other cases, solvent-borne coatings characterized by exceptional stability and wet strength are more well-suited.