Nikomed USA: Recyclable wires for patient monitors and ECG electrodes
Nikomed USA will soon launch (June 26-28 at Florida International Medical Expo in Miami Beach) a non-metal, disposable and universal lead wire system for patient-monitoring equipment and ECG electrodes.
Many health providers using metal leads find disposal to be a challenge because they can’t recycle the material, according to Nikomed USA (Hatboro, Pa.). The company designed BioWire to be recyclable; it’s made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and silver ink.
PET is light, flexible and strong, and silver ink is conductive and bonds well with PET, Nikomed USA president Steve Epstein told Medical Design & Outsourcing. The company adds chloride to the silver to match the AAMI standard for ECG electrodes and lead wires because chloride prevents polarization of contacts after defibrillation.
BioWire can easily adapt to most monitoring equipment and all ECG electrodes. Its ribbon-like design makes it possible to write on or apply a label to the wiring itself, according to the company. Healthcare customers’ desire for disposable wires has led to an issue with waste, added Nikomed USA president Steve Epstein.
“There’s miles and miles of metal wire being discarded every day,” Epstein said. “I said, ‘There’s got to be a better solution.”
BioWire may also reduce the likelihood that disposable wires are reused from patient-to-patient, preventing cross-contamination and improving the bottom line for customers, he added. Nikomed sells exclusively through medical supply distributors.
Nikomed USA manufactures tab electrodes for use in diagnostic testing and surgical applications, so taking on lead wires seemed like a logical next step. The challenge was developing connectors to mate with BioWire. The company worked on a few ideas but they proved too expensive, Epstein said. Company officials decided to replace the yoke, which holds the individual wires that attach to the electrodes placed on the patient’s skin, with its own clamp device connector.
Nikomed USA worked with medtech development companies and has a patent pending for a reusable connector that can accommodate three, five or six wires and can slip onto an ECG’s trunk cable or other monitoring equipment’s cable.
How recyclable is BioWire? “It’s a hard thing to say,” Epstein said. “No one can say how long it will take to break down, but you’re not throwing metal away.”