Engineering Materials

Improving patient outcomes with safer ventilator tubing

Medical equipment manufacturers are scaling up production of ventilators to help people worldwide fight respiratory illness. Yet, moisture trapped inside respiratory tubing can cause ventilator acquired pneumonia (VAP), which puts the health of patients in jeopardy. DSM’s Arnitel® VT materials offer unique moisture vapor transmission capabilities to minimize rainout that forms inside tubing, and support design simplification that can potentially eliminate the need for moisture traps. 

Governments and medical industry leaders are taking action to aid patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – the third leading cause of death worldwide. Although widespread vaccination against COVID-19 has lowered the number of ICU patients who need to be put on respiratory support, the rising rate of COPD continues to drive up the need for mechanical ventilators each year. Between 2022 and 2030, the market for these devices is estimated to see a compound annual growth rate of 4.8%.

Approximately 2 million hospital patients placed on mechanical ventilators each year are expected to develop ventilator acquired pneumonia (VAP), which has a mortality rate of up to 13% in the US. Respiratory tubing is prone to building up condensate and creating a risk of microaspiration. Bacteria-filled microdroplets can be re-aspirated back into the lungs and increase the patient’s likelihood of developing VAP – a risk ­that increases the longer someone needs to be intubated and undergo continuous mechanical ventilation.

To address this issue, ventilators are often designed with moisture condensation traps that help prevent fluid from building up. However, in addition to creating more work for nurses and clinicians, opening a breathing circuit to drain this trap also increases the risk of bacteria-laden fluid that collects above the endotracheal tube (ET) leaking past the cuff and entering the lungs.

Polyolefin materials, which are most commonly used to manufacture respiratory tubing, don’t allow condensate to escape. Ventilator tubing developers stand to gain a competitive advantage by leveraging a copolyester elastomer material capable of transporting moisture out through the tube wall to the ambient environment. This approach to mitigating rainout can significantly minimize condensation and may eliminate the need for a moisture trap altogether – lowering the risk of VAP, simplifying breathing circuit designs and driving cost savings.

DSM’s Arnitel® VT material solutions respond to ongoing challenges and changing requirements that medical device suppliers face. With the performance characteristics of high-strength rubber combined with outstanding flexibility, the thermoplastic elastomer compound is optimized for medical tubing applications designed for high-stress clinical settings and offers: 

  •  Unmatched moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR) for enhanced material breathability
  • Fast-acting water absorption rate
  • Extreme durability and tensile elongation greater than 500%
  • Superior elasticity and kink resistance
  • High melting temperature of 210°C to prevent tube deformation
  • Excellent processing capabilities to produce lightweight, low density, ultra-thin membranes
  • 100% recyclable polyester-based chemistry
  • Compliance with FDA food contact, USP Class VI, ISO 10993-5 and ISO 10993-10 standards
  • High purity to minimize extractable and leachable substances and volatile organic compounds (VOC) per ISO 18562

Exceeding your customers’ product safety requirements

Arnitel VT’s monolithic membrane is a unique combination of soft and hard polymer blocks that continuously absorbs moisture into the inner tube wall and expels it through the surface. ASTM E96 cup testing conducted by our team verifies that our Arnitel VT3112 offers a MVTR of 17,500 (g/m²/day) – outperforming every widely-used respiratory tubing material. Our Arnitel portfolio includes a range of grades that demonstrate varying strength, stiffness and MVTR performance to meet individual customer requirements.

Bringing high-performance respiratory tubing to market faster

As you develop next-generation breathing circuits, we are prepared to help you save more time and costs. Our teams provide advanced part modeling capabilities to accurately predict the long-term performance of tubing in high humidity conditions – eliminating unnecessary design cycles while keeping patients safe. To help you meet the rising demand for medical equipment with a lower carbon footprint, we offer numerous bio-based materials for medical applications – and are launching a complete portfolio of these solutions by 2030.

Delivering lifesaving medical equipment such as ventilators means centering your activities around patient safety. DSM’s approach to customer success combines in-depth material and design expertise and has enabled medical equipment suppliers worldwide to launch next-generation devices that are sustainable, cost-effective, and significantly improve patient outcomes. With our reputation for providing complete product development solutions tailored to customer needs, we’re equipped to help you grow your business and save more lives.

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Learn more about solutions for respiratory tubing

Published on

04 August 2022

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Respiratory Tubing infographic

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Paul Moruzi

Business Development Manager

Paul Moruzi is a Market Development Manager with DSM Engineering Materials. He brings more than 30 years of experience in automotive and non-automotive applications with engineering plastics, including more than 22 years focused on copolyester elastomers. In his current role, he is focused on medical applications. Paul holds a MBA from York University, Toronto, ON, and a Bachelor of Science, Engineering from Queen's University, Kingston, ON.