Proper and effective medical device sterilization is important for every medical facility. Sterilization means the elimination and destruction of all types of microbial organisms. The sterilization method used may vary from one type of medical equipment to another. It depends on the different disinfecting and handling requirements of the equipment in question.
It is often the case that sterilization in medical facilities is done using steam under pressure. At times, gaseous chemicals or liquids are also used instead of steam. This method of sterilization is known as steam sterilization. This involves heating the instruments inside an autoclave, which contains steam under pressure.
Usually a pressure of 15 psi is maintained. This helps reach and maintain a minimum temperature of 121°C. This use of pressurized steam at very high temperatures helps eradicate every microbial cell present in the chamber. Even spores that are believed to be insensitive to heat are often destroyed.
Effective steam sterilization is not that easy to perform when performing medical device sterilization. You need to make sure proper measures are taken during the sterilization method. Several critical factors are involved that deduce the effectiveness of the procedure. They include:
- Maintaining the right temperature (a high temperature)
- Proper saturation of heat
- Complete absence of heat in the beginning
You can find several types of autoclaves in the market nowadays that can easily hold every type of medical equipment present. A few of them make use of exhaust valves which get activated through steam. They are designed in such a manner that they remain open until they react to steam, and then close.
Besides this, you can also find pre-vacuum sterilizers. They incorporate a pre-cycle vacuum which helps them bring about the removal process of air before the steam is introduced to the system. They are designed to address the problem that is created when air is trapped in the system during the process of steam sterilization.
The equipment that is needed to be sterilized is placed physically in an instrument tray, which is also known as a sterilization tray. They possess air removal and entrance characteristics, but not all of them are equipped for this purpose.
The quantity of equipments and devices that a sterilization/instrument tray can hold depends on its design. It is important that all medical equipment and devices that are directly involved in surgical procedures are washed and placed in the sterilization/instrument tray after they are steam sterilized.