Comparison of optical microscopy and optical coherence tomography as quality assurance methods for evaluating lubricious hydrophilic coatings surrounding catheter shafts.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Cardiac catheters are a vital tool in medicine due to their widespread use in many minimally invasive procedures. To aid in advancing the catheter within the patient's vasculature, many catheters are coated with a lubricious hydrophilic coating (HPC). Although HPCs benefit patients, their delamination during use is a serious safety concern. Adverse health effects associated with HPC delamination include pulmonary and myocardial embolism, embolic stroke, infarction, and death. In order to improve patient outcomes, more consistent manufacturing methods and improved quality assurance techniques are needed to evaluate HPC medical devices. The present work investigates the efficacy of two novel methods to image and evaluate HPCs post-manufacturing, relative to industry-standard scanning electron microscopy (SEM)-based methods. We have shown that novel evaluation approaches based on optical microscopy (OM) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) are capable of imaging HPC layers and quantifying HPC thickness, saving hours of time relative to SEM sample preparation and imaging. Additionally, the nondestructive nature of OCT avoids damage and alteration to the HPC prior to imaging, leading to more reliable HPC thickness measurements. Overall, the work demonstrated the feasibility and advantages of using OM and OCT to image and measure HPC thickness relative to industry-standard SEM methods.

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Journal of biomedical materials research. Part B, Applied biomaterials