Global Warming Impact of “Single-Use” Medical Device Cut in Half When Reprocessed Device Used Instead, According to Newly Published Research in Sustainability
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of Electrophysiology Catheters Could Become a Roadmap for Hospitals to Quickly Reduce Environmental Footprint

  • The carbon footprint of plastic production for initial use is greater than the global warming impact of the entire process used for medical device reprocessing
  • Use of reprocessed devices is environmentally superior to use of original products in 13 of 16 categories evaluated
  • Reprocessing found to advance “circular economy,” a key strategy for reaching the UN Sustainability Goals
  • LCA offers evidence showing that in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and honor the Paris Climate Agreement, EU Member States must opt-in to EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR)’s reprocessing/remanufacturing provisions

[Berlin / Washington, DC – 25 January 2021] Hospitals could cut emissions associated with some medical device use in half by opting instead for regulated, reprocessed “single-use” medical devices.  The LCA evaluated the use of a reprocessed electrophysiology catheter compared with the use of original catheters for 16 different environmental impact categories and found that the use of reprocessed devices was superior in 13 categories.
The study, conducted by Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT, a division the world’s leading applied research organization Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and published in Sustainability, is the first comprehensive LCA exploring the environmental impact of a reprocessed “single-use” medical device compared to the “take-make-dispose” use of “single-use” original devices. . .

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