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Designing for Mechanical and Signal Integrity in Handheld Medical Treatment Applications

Handheld medical devices must perform across a wide range of device specifications and end-user environmental conditions. Mechanical and signal integrity of cable components is especially important for high-level performance, accuracy, durability, longevity, and user satisfaction. Medical cables undergo extreme wear and tear in most medical settings — they are constantly being coiled and uncoiled, stepped on, and rolled over. Repeated sterilization in harsh conditions can further stress the cable’s physical and electrical integrity. Equipment examples include endoscopic cameras, electrosurgical devices, medical foot switches, lithotripters, laser hair removal devices, magnet therapies, and pulse oximetry and ultrasound equipment. To ensure cables perform as expected, cable manufacturers subject their products to a variety of tests to validate cable performance, including their efficacy, and mechanical and electrical integrity. Material selection is an important part of maintaining this integrity. A great variety of insulating and jacketing material options exist for wire and cable in medical electronics. Performance factors that affect material selection decisions include biocompatibility, disinfection and sterilization compatibility, revision control assurance, environmental regulatory compliance, aesthetics, flexibility, durability, and cost. Subtle differences in priority may result in significant differences in product design, as well as overall cost.



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