PVC medical devicesFor over 60 years, PVC medical devices have allowed patients and healthcare professionals to access an ever-widening range of medical applications for screening, diagnosis, treatment and care, with optimal technical performance, safety and comfort in use. In fact, medical PVC accounts for about 40 % of all plastics-based medical devices used in hospitals.
Medical PVC is key to modern healthcarePVC medical devices are thus fundamental in the creation of modern healthcare systems. PVC, or vinyl, is the only material that is able to guarantee the quality and performance demanded by medical professionals and regulatory bodies. At the same time, medical PVC has enabled governments to ensure the smart use of resources and create innovative, quality-driven and financially sustainable healthcare systems.
Over the years, PVC has proved to be a safe, reliable and cost-efficient material for healthcare delivery. Add to that PVC's numerous other properties – including ease of processing with different technologies, transparency, chemical stability, long shelf-life – and you have a winning combination. As a result, PVC is now the most widely used plastic in pre-sterilised single-use medical applications.
Main applications for medical PVCThe two main application areas for medically approved PVC compounds are flexible containers and flexible medical tubing.
PVC flexible containers
PVC is used to make blood bags and other non-breakable containers, which are crucial in today’s healthcare. Soft PVC is considered the material of choice for these kinds of devices. It is light and almost impossible to tear, making it ideal for quick and effective emergency treatment of accident victims.
PVC medical tubing
Typical requirements for tubing used in medical devices include clarity, flexibility, kink and scratch resistance, toughness, ease of bonding with common solvents or adhesives, and suitability for sterilisation. While other thermoplastics have been used to replace flexible PVC in medical tubing, none to date has been able to match the performance and advantages provided by PVC — in particular, meeting PVC medical tubing's optimum balance between kink resistance and affordability.
Other PVC healthcare applications
PVC coated mattress covers
Surgical & examination gloves
PVC enabled a revolution in healthcarePVC medical devices were originally developed as replacements for natural rubber, glass and metal. Medical devices made of these materials required cleaning and re-sterilisation before reuse. The safety, high performance, low cost and versatility of PVC made it possible to manufacture single-use medical devices.
In the early 1960s, this resulted in a revolution within the healthcare sector. PVC medical applications can be easily sterilised while keeping their key properties such as flexibility and resistance to tears, scratches and kinks. PVC-based medical devices thus improved medical safety dramatically by reducing the risk of life-threatening and healthcare-acquired infections caused by traditional, multiple-use medical devices.