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Biomaterials. 2004 Aug;25(19):4659-73.

Stability of plasma-treated silicone rubber and its influence on the interfacial aspects of blood compatibility.

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1
Department of Clinical Engineering, University of Liverpool, Duncan Building, Daulby Street, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK. rlw@liverpool.ac.uk

Abstract

Medical-grade polydimethylsiloxane elastomer was subjected to low-powered plasma treatment in the presence of four different gases: O(2), Ar, N(2) and NH(3). Changes to the surface chemistry immediately after processing and the stability of the treatments following ageing in phosphate buffered saline or air for up to 1 month were investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and dynamic contact angle analysis. Changes in surface morphology were assessed using optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy. All treatments resulted in an increase in wettability, attributed to major changes in chemistry combined with modest etching. Furthermore, the primary site of attack of the plasma species appeared to be dependent upon the feed gas implemented. The two main chemical changes observed after ageing were due to reactions with the storage media and relaxation processes resulting in further changes in wettability. The influence of the surface modifications on the blood compatibility of the materials was investigated by assessing contact phase activation using a partial thromboplastin time assay. It was demonstrated that the O(2) and Ar plasma treatments reduced the performance of the silicone but the N(2) and NH(3) treatments had a significantly beneficial effect on the activation of the coagulation cascade.

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