Hydrophilic Coatings

Hydrophilic coatings are a biological and mechanical design that have evolved over the last four decades. Currently, hydrophilic coatings can be the difference between a purposeful and nonfunctional device, especially in the medical field. With the use of hydrophilic coatings, consistent device surface properties can be achieved.

In 1956, DuPont was the first to patent hydrophilic coating technology with a two-layer system, including bonding and binding coats. Over the years, hydrophilic coatings have included polyvinylpyrolidone (PVP), polyurethanes, polyacrylic acid (PAA), polyethylene oxide (PEO) and polysaccharide materials.

Medical Industry Applications of Hydrophilic Coated Devices

The fields of cardiology and urology have greatly benefited from hydrophilic coatings that are biocompatible and durable. Since hydrophilic coatings are water-loving they have a low coefficient of friction. As a result, hydrophilic coated medical devices area more easy to use.

The use of hydrophilic coatings in the medical field continues to increase with new coated devices and tools. Peripheral vascular, urologic, cardiologic and ophthalmic fields use hydrophilic coated devices for safe patient care and use. And, with their disposable capacity, hydrophilic coating devices are also used in emergency departments and labor & delivery units of healthcare organizations. Other common hydrophilic coated devices are used for endoscopy and respiratory care.

Guidewires, catheters, and many other invasive medical devices use hydrophilic coatings for feasibility and safety of patient care. Devices include:

  • Central venous catheters (CVCs) 
  • Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) 
  • Speculums 
  • Intraocular lens delivery cartridge
  • Antimicrobial agents

Hydrophilic Coating Benefits versus Other Medical Coatings

Hydrophilic coatings are biomedically safe over non-hydrophilic coated lubricants and include antimicrobial properties that other coatings do not. Furthermore, hydrophilic coatings have a multipurpose capacity and deliver cost-effective benefits including enhanced functionality and infection fighting functions.