Friday - November 20, 2015

Safely diagnosing gastrointestinal diseases

Polycarbonate for capsule endoscopy

Covestro supports innovative examination method
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For the examination via capsule endoscopy, the patient swallows a small capsule with built-in camera, which is transported through the digestive tract while delivering images of the stomach and intestinal walls. The high-tech polycarbonate Makrolon® from Covestro, which is used for the capsule shell, is biocompatible and safe. Through its good formability it is allowing for a large filming angle for the camera.

The introduction of capsule endoscopy has resulted in great progress in the detection of gastrointestinal diseases and is an important complement to gastroscopy and colonoscopy. For the examination, the patient swallows the small capsule, which is transported like food through the digestive tract while delivering images of the stomach and intestinal walls. Doctors store the images on external image recorders and analyze them to arrive at a diagnosis.

Because patients ingest the capsules, the materials used must meet extremely stringent requirements. For the capsule shell, Shenyang Shangxian uses a special grade of the high-tech polycarbonate Makrolon® from Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience. The material is biocompatible and is impervious to both stomach acid and the alkaline intestinal flora. It is also mechanically strong and safe, ensuring a trouble-free examination.

Endoscopy as convenient as swallowing a pill
“Capsule endoscopes are composed of a miniature camera, digital processor system, and a transceiver for wireless data transmission,” said Sun Yufeng, General Manager of Shenyang Shangxian Technology. “They are taken with water, just like medicine. The materials therefore have to be safe and corrosion-resistant, while also allowing for a large filming angle for the camera. Doctors also have stringent requirements for image quality. Covestro’s polycarbonate is perfectly suited for this application.”

The plastic is highly transparent, enabling clear, well-resolved images. It also offers ample design freedom, facilitating a large filming angle for the camera so that a wide field of view can be covered. These advantages make an important contribution toward eliminating uncertainties in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases and spare the patients discomfort during the examination.

Tony Tong, Covestro marketing expert for polycarbonates in China: “Covestro develops solutions for the utilization of polycarbonates in medical technology, and there are many applications here. We will continue to support companies in this sector in China with their use of polycarbonate.

About Covestro:
With 2014 sales of EUR 11.8 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 15,700 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of September 2015.

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This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.