This scanning electron microscope image shows how red blood cells coagulate to form a blood clot. (Credit: James Weaver, Harvard’s Wyss Institute)
Any medical device implanted in the body or in contact with flowing blood faces two critical challenges: blood clotting and bacterial infection. Now, a team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, Boston, say they have developed a new surface coating for medical devices using FDA-approved materials that not only repelled blood from more than 20 medically relevant substrates the team tested, but also suppressed biofilm formation. The team’s implanted medical-grade tubing and catheters coated with the material prevented blood from clotting for at least eight hours without the use of blood thinners, such as heparin. This super-repellent coating can be adhered to existing, approved medical devices, they say.

The idea for the coating evolved from Slippery Liquid–Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS), a pioneering surface technology developed at Harvard. Inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plant, SLIPS repels nearly any material it contacts. The liquid layer on the surface provides a barrier to everything from ice to crude oil and blood.

For more information, visit www.medicaldesignbriefs.com/component/content/article/1104-mdb/news/20851.

Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2014 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.