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Considerations on Component Selection in Medical Equipment

Topic: Considerations on Component Selection in Medical Equipment

The average human lifespan has risen steadily, as prosperity and living standards have increased in many parts of the world. Increased lifespan is a cause for celebration. However, longer lifespans bring challenges too. According to the World Health Organization, by 2050, one in six people worldwide will be aged 65 or over, almost twice the proportion in 2019.

Aging populations have greater care needs, placing increased pressure on health authorities. Medical technology has a role in overcoming these challenges, and delivering better-quality healthcare to more people, cost-effectively and efficiently.

Today’s healthcare providers have access to more powerful, more reliable, and more diverse types of tools at their disposal to help diagnose and treat patients. There are also non-invasive wearable devices such as personal monitors that can help patients measure their vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar, as well as record and report the results to care coordinators remotely. Today’s smallest medical devices include tiny implantables that can help sustain life and manage chronic conditions, such as cochlear implants for correcting hearing loss, and pacemakers to help manage heart conditions such as arrhythmia.

Demands on Electronics

Successive generations of electronic components are becoming smaller and more energy-efficient, as well as more precise and sensitive, and have been instrumental in enabling today’s advanced medical equipment to emerge and continue improving by delivering greater ease of use and enhanced capabilities.

Medical devices such as wearables and implantables are typically required to operate continuously, making low power consumption an essential requirement, as well as extremely high reliability. On the other hand, equipment such as scanners must typically handle high pulse loads, while other devices such as emergency defibrillators must sit inactive for long periods, yet be ready to start up and operate perfectly the instant they are needed.

To ensure the reliability of components such as capacitors used in filtering and decoupling circuits, ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) such as medical-grade devices are burned in at high voltage and temperature. They are subsequently inspected and tested according to the military standards MIL-PRF-55681 and MIL-PRF-123. These are the most demanding test methods in the industry and allow for an extremely high assurance of reliability.

Discussed: Considerations on Component Selection in Medical Equipment

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