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Coating Advancements for Blood-Contacting Devices

Most of today's blood-contacting medical devices are made of synthetic materials. When blood makes contact with these materials that are foreign to the body, a number of adverse reactions are triggered (including platelet attachment, platelet activation, and complement activation). These reactions eventually lead to fibrin production and clot formation. These clots can impair the function of the device. More drastically, they can occlude critical vessels at the implant location or be released into the patient's blood stream where they can obstruct distant blood vessels, potentially leading to strokes or even death.

Overview of Blood Compatibility

Improved compatibility with blood is a desired feature for a variety of medical devices that must contact blood during clinical use. It is difficult, however, to achieve this improvement by altering the bulk materials used for fabricating the devices. A more straightforward method is to apply a thin-film coating to the surface of the device to confer improved blood compatibility to the device.

For many years researchers have been developing coatings to improve the blood compatibility of medical devices. Heparin-based coatings have been demonstrated to substantially improve the performance of a variety of blood-contacting medical devices. Recently, non-heparin-based synthetic coatings have also shown promise for medical device applications where biological molecules are inappropriate or undesired.


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By David Babcock, Associate Research Scientist, Amy Novak, Director of Haemocompatibility and Dr Aron Anderson, Director of Drug Delivery at SurModics, Inc.

David Babcock is an Associate Research Scientist in the haemocompatibility department of SurModics, Inc. David graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Biology, concentrating on cellular and molecular biology. After graduation, he continued his work in a university research lab studying telomeric proteins. David has been a Research Scientist at SurModics since 1998 and is responsible for developing and performing tests for assessing haemocompatibility.

Amy Novak is currently Director of Haemocompatibility at SurModics, Inc., where she is responsible for the development and commercial applications of medical device coatings to improve the compatibility of blood-contacting devices. Her previous position at SurModics was Manager, Haemocompatible Commercial Applications, where she was responsible for working with customers on blood-contacting devices. Amy has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri, and has been with SurModics since January 2000. Previously, she worked at 3M Company for 10 years in various technical positions.

Dr Aron Anderson is currently Director of Drug Delivery at SurModics Inc., where he is responsible for development of medical device coatings that contain and release drug for local therapy. His previous position at SurModics was Director of Haemocompatibility where he was responsible for the development of coatings to improve the compatibility of blood-contacting devices. Aron gained a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and received his PhD from Stanford University. He has been with the company since 1991.
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David Babcock
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Amy Novak
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Dr Aron Anderson
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