Editorial Feature

Vinyl (Poly Vinyl Chloride) in Medical Applications

No other plastic in existence today has the combination of performance qualities that vinyl has. Because of this, vinyl makes it possible to provide exceptional patient care while controlling healthcare costs. Vinyl medical products have been proven safe and effective worldwide, which is why vinyl is the leading medical plastic in use today.


There are numerous properties of vinyl that lead it to being used in medical applications these include:

Clarity and Transparency

Because of its physical properties, products made from vinyl can be formulated with excellent transparency to allow for continual monitoring of fluid flow. If a colour-coded application is needed, virtually any colour of the rainbow is available.

Flexibility, Durability and Dependability

Not only does vinyl offer the flexibility necessary for applications such as blood bags and IV containers, but it can also be relied upon for its strength and durability, even under changing temperatures and conditions.


Vinyl products can be easily sterilized using such methods as steam, radiation or ethylene oxide.


Vinyl is compatible with virtually all pharmaceutical products used in healthcare facilities today. It also has excellent water and chemical resistance, helping to keep solutions sterile.

Resistance to Chemical Stress Cracking

Vinyl's resilience helps assure that medical products consistently function for extended use in demanding applications.

Ease of Processing

Vinyl can easily be extruded to make IV tubing, thermoformed to make "blister" packaging or blow moulded to make rigid hollow containers. This versatility is a major reason why vinyl is the material of choice for medical product and packaging designers.


Thanks to a significant investment on the part of the vinyl industry to develop automated sorting technology, vinyl products can be, and are being, recycled. Pilot programs show promise for recycling non-infectious vinyl medical waste, as well.

Low Cost

The use of vinyl plays a big role in containing rising healthcare costs. With vinyl accounting for over 25 percent of medical plastics currently in use, a switch to an alternative could cost the healthcare community hundreds of millions of dollars.

Medical Applications

Vinyl is used in hundreds of medical products and devices with more applications continually being developed. Some of the most prevalent uses include:

  • Blood bags and tubing
  • Cannulae
  • Caps
  • Catheters
  • Connectors
  • Cushioning products
  • Device packages
  • Dialysis equipment and tubing
  • Drainage tubing
  • Drip chambers
  • Ear protections
  • Examination gloves
  • Goggles
  • Inflatable splints
  • Inhalation masks
  • IV containers and components
  • Laboratory ware
  • Masks
  • Mouthpieces
  • Oxygen delivery
  • Seals
  • Surgical wire
  • Jacketing
  • Thermal blankets
  • Valves

Source: The Vinyl Institute

For more information on this source please visit The Vinyl Institute

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