History of Medical Devices

Surgical techniques and Medical Devices may seem to have emerged only in the last century, with the explosion of new products and solutions since the 1990s. However, as early as 2.000 to 5.000 years ago many civilizations used tools such as forceps, knives, scalpels, saws, lancets, needles, trocars, and cautery devices for several medical procedures. From about the 1st century A.D. to the 17th century, most medical procedures involved treatment of injuries of soldiers at war on the battlefields, or the ailments of the very rich. Devices were used to treat battleground wounds received from arrows, knives, sabres, guns and cannons. With the advancement of science in the 17th century such devices became more prevalent. Many Medical Devices were manufactured by doctors or small companies and sold directly to the public with no government standards or oversight for safety or effectiveness [2]. The 1800s was a ground-breaking era for Medical Devices, therapeutic and medical inventions and the development of modern medicine. In 1867, Joseph Lister published his “Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery“. In the 19th century, devices such as the stethoscope, the hypodermic syringe, the ophthalmoscope, the electrocardiogram, hearing aids, the kymograph and nitrous oxide as an anaesthetic were brought to market. The 20th century saw an explosion of Medical Devices that included for example the cardio defibrillator, hip and knee replacements, dialysis machines, and insulin pumps. The growth of Medical Devices has been exponential in the last 100 years, and the above examples do not even start to touch on the exciting benefits of diagnostic information stemming from IVDs.

Video Nr 1, 2000 Year Old Medical Tools That Could Be Used Today, source YouTube

Although examples from an ancient age are available, the Medical Device industry takes its primary roots in the 1930s and saw a rapid evolution after World War II with synthetic polymers and booming electrical/electronic technologies. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) started to be a material of choice for IV bags and tubing, silicone tubing for catheters and balloons, polyolefins for trays and bottles, and fluoropolymers for IV catheters [3]. Also, at the same time, an explosion of new and breakthrough products was witnessed, such as in the cardiovascular space, with vascular grafts, heart valves and pacemakers [4].