Keeping It Clean - The Importance of Having Reliable Sterilization Practices
Today’s world is one in which the need for infection control is critical to health and welfare of medical professionals, their staff and their patients. Preventing the transmission of disease and infection is of great concern. Controlling bacterial contamination through sterilization is an essential, perhaps the essential, component controlling infection so vital to patient safety.
Proper sterilization of instruments protects patient and physician and from contracting infectious diseases.
Proper design of the instrument sterilization process as well as the processing area help to make sterilization efficient while reducing environmental contamination.
There are a variety of sterilization methods which include steam sterilization or autoclaving, which is moist heat under pressure, and dry-heat sterilization which includes an electric oven and chemical vapor sterilization. Instruments that have direct contact with a patient’s bloodstream or tissues under the skin must be sterilized in accordance with manufacturer’s directions, prior to reuse. The sterilization process kills bacteria and avoids the transmission of infections.
Steam sterilization is the recommended method and is therefore the most commonly used. Achieving optimal sterilization conditions inside the chamber necessitates removing any air trapped inside the steam sterilization chamber after the door is closed.
Traditionally, steam sterilizers are classified by the method used to remove this trapped air. For instance, gravity displacement sterilizers rely on gravity to force the air out of the bottom of the chamber through a mechanical valve at the beginning of the heating phase once specific conditions (temperature, pressure, etc.) inside the chamber are reached.
Whatever the method used, it is import to have more than one method of sterilization available as well as multiple sterilizers to use in the event of equipment failures. Preventing the growth and spread of disease are two of the most important reasons why medical equipment must be sterilized after every use.