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New medical polymer blend helps combat hospital-acquired infections

Following your treatment, you wouldn't expect to leave the hospital with a brand new disease, but somewhere between 3.5% and 12% of patients will, according to the World Health Organization. That's the rate of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in the developed world; the percentage is much higher in low- to middle-income countries.

Following your treatment, you wouldn't expect to leave the hospital with a brand new disease, but somewhere between 3.5% and 12% of patients will, according to the World Health Organization. That's the rate of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) in the developed world; the percentage is much higher in low- to middle-income countries.

Medical materials suppliers have been introducing polymer grades over the past few years to help prevent HAIs, and that trend continued at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA, last week. At its booth, Bayer MaterialScience introduced a new polycarbonate blend with enhanced chemical resistance to withstand exposure to aggressive disinfectants used in hospitals to combat HAIs. The material also prolongs the shelf life of medical devices exposed to these chemicals.

Makroblend EL4000, a PC/PBT blend resin, was developed to withstand the harsh disinfectants that are increasingly used in hospitals, says George Paleos, Vice President, Marketing, Consumer and Medical Global. "The market was asking for a material of this caliber for enclosures and housings, in particular," says Paleos, citing automated external defibrillators as one recent application.

"In addition to providing chemical resistance, Makroblend EL4000 features toughness and high tensile modulus, and it can prevent stress cracking," says Paleos. The use of aggressive disinfectants were resulting in stress failures and cosmetic changes in device surfaces, and this material helps mitigate these problems, he adds.

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