Plastic Breathes Life into Respiration System

November 1, 1999

7 Min Read
Plastic Breathes Life into Respiration System


Plastic Breathes Life into Respiration System

An innovative plastic joint has patients breathing easier.

Made by Dubois Ltd. of Great Britain, a new disposable breathing system features a "Swivel Y" connector made of Carilon polymers, aliphatic polyketones from Shell Chemical Co. (Houston). Replacing a heavy metal and rubber joint, the Swivel Y is "a cost-effective disposable component with the functionality of a heavy reusable Y piece but at the cost of a disposable fixed Y," according to Anthony Fraser, sales and marketing director for Dubois.

9911p8a.jpgA new disposable breathing system features a Y connector made of Carilon polymers from Shell Chemical Co.

Carilon polymers offer strength and stiffness over a broad temperature range; good toughness, wear, and friction characteristics; and low hydrocarbon permeability. These characteristics allowed Dubois to use the polymers as lips and undercuts for snap-fit assembly without damaging or distorting the finished product. Additionally, the high lubricity of the polymers lets the joint move easily while ensuring a tight fit and minimizing leakage. The polymers are also resistant to chemicals, which reduces stress-cracking problems, and can be sterilized by gamma rays.

For more information about Carilon polymers, visit Shell's Web site at

Increased Demand Seen for Imaging Equipment, Fetal and Neonatal Monitors

Markets for diagnostic imaging equipment and fetal and neonatal monitors should grow over the next six years, according to two reports issued by Frost & Sullivan, a Mountain View, CA, healthcare marketing and consulting company.

U.S. Fetal and Neonatal Monitoring Equipment Markets analyzes the electronic fetal, neonatal multiparameter, and neonatal noninvasive blood gas monitoring markets. The report forecasts slow growth for sales of the monitors through 2005. It also describes the markets as "moderately to heavily saturated," with companies in the industry focusing on capturing new markets.

The other report, World Diagnostic Imaging Equipment Markets, evaluates the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, computed tomography, x-ray, and nuclear medical imaging equipment segments of the diagnostic imaging marketplace. Overall, Frost & Sullivan expects industry revenues to exceed $14.6 billion by 2004. Sales of MRI equipment in particular are expected to increase due to improvements in technology. According to the report, the MRI industry will experience an 11% annual revenue increase through 2005, to more than $3.6 billion.

For more information on the reports, visit Frost & Sullivan's Web site at

Medtronic, Xomed to Merge

Medtronic Inc. (Minneapolis) and Xomed Surgical Products Inc. (Jacksonville, FL) have signed a merger agreement under which Medtronic will acquire all shares of Xomed, a leading provider of surgical products used by ear, nose, and throat surgeons. The transaction is valued at approximately $800 million, with Xomed shareholders to receive $60 in Medtronic stock for each share of Xomed. The companies expect the transaction to be completed by the end of the year.

"Xomed's market leadership, strong clinical relationships, highly regarded management, and full range of products offer Medtronic a new platform for continuing growth beyond our current franchises," said William W. George, chairman and chief executive officer of Medtronic, which makes a wide variety of medical devices.

New Technology Aims to Slash Needle Sticks

BTG plc (London) has made available for licensing a new technology that could reduce the approximately one million needle-stick injuries reported in the United States each year. Developed by two experts in the field of hydrophilic polymers, the technology uses such polymers to cover the point of a needle and thereby render it harmless.

Once a needle is used, the polymers absorb moisture from the injected solution or surrounding fluid. This causes the polymers to expand and thereby blunt and block the needle, preventing its reuse and virtually eliminating the possibility of a needle-stick injury, according to BTG.

Since no special needle-retraction mechanism is needed, the technology can be used with a conventional syringe. This makes it easy and inexpensive to use and potentially adaptable for almost any needle, BTG claims.

For more information, visit BTG's Web site at

Company to Develop Tools for Making 'Mesoscale' Electronic Devices

As part of a four-year, $7.5 million project, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Potomac Photonics Inc. (Lanham, MD) a contract to develop and commercialize a laser-based tool for the fabrication of next-generation passive electronic devices. The award also grants Potomac full commercial rights to the tool.

The award is part of DARPA's Mesoscopic Integrated Conformal Electronics (MICE) program, the goal of which is development of a commercially available machine capable of producing "mesoscale" electronic devices in a conformal manner on virtually any substrate. Larger than silicon chips but smaller than printed circuit boards, mesoscale electronic circuits promise to allow further miniaturization of medical and other devices.

9911p8b.jpgApproximately 40 µm wide, this conductive gold medal line was deposited using a laser technique being developed by Potomac Photonics Inc.

Potomac's MICE tool showcases the company's experience in laser microfabrication technology, as well as a proprietary deposition process developed at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. This combination has already resulted in the fabrication of conductors, resistors, capacitors, and inductors.

For more information, call Potomac Photonics at 301/459-3031.

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