The segmented polyether urethanes (PEUs) have been used in implantable medical devices due to excellent mechanical properties, acceptable blood compatibility, and good biostability. However, recent studies demonstrate that the polyether soft segment of PEU is susceptible to oxidative degradation in vivo due to scission of the polyether group. Recently, polycarbonate urethanes (PCUs) having no ether linkage in the soft segment have been developed, and show improved stability against oxidative degradation over PEUs. The current study evaluates blood compatibility of these PCUs in comparison with PEUs using epifluorescent video microscopy (EVM) combined with a parallel plate flow cell. The authors selected two PCUs, Corethane 80A (Corvita Corporation, Miami, FL) and PCU(1560), and two PEUs, Pellethene 2363–80AE (Dow Chemical Japan, Tokyo, Japan) and Tecoflex EG80A (Thermedics, Inc., Woburn, MA), all of which have similar hard segment compositions (MDI or HMDI:1,4-butanedio(BD)) and the same hardness of 80A. The EVM measured the amount of platelet coverage on the surfaces using human whole blood perfased at a wall shear rate of 100/sec for 20 min. Complement activation (C3a) also was measured. Both PEUs, especially Pellethane, showed significantly higher platelet adhesion than the PCUs (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences in platelet adhesion between the two PCUs. As for C3a measurements, Tecoflex showed higher complement activation than the others. Based on these results, it is recommended that PEUs should be replaced by ether free PCUs for use in implantable blood contacting devices such as artificial hearts and pacemaker lead insulators. ASAIO Journal 1997; 43:M500-M504.
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