Sterilization standards for medical devices during the pandemic
During an outbreak it is crucial to treat medical devices (single use or reusable) as potential sources of transmissions. Therefore both environmental services (EVS), and central sterile service departments (CSSD), must be given the resources and time needed to properly follow medical device manufacturers guidelines in order to decrease the risk of disease transmission from contaminated devices. The Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is the American National Standards that all medical fields and devices.
If standard infection prevention measures are not followed, hospital settings can become the center of disease transmission and other healthcare associated infections (HAI).
Sterilizers in healthcare facilities are medical devices that are regulated by FDA and are utilized to render medical devices sterile (i.e. free from viable microorganisms). Sterilizers can range from small tabletop sterilizers to large sterilizers intended for large loads using steam, ethylene oxide, vaporized hydrogen peroxide, etc. The most common types of sterilizers are:
- Steam sterilizer
- Vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP)
- Dry heat sterilizer
- EO gas sterilizer
Additional Ways to Sterilize Medical Devices
Disinfectant Devices: These devices are intended to kill pathogens and other microorganisms by chemical or physical means. Disinfectant devices can kill most pathogenic microorganisms including bacterial spores. These are commonly used in healthcare settings and can include chemical/physical or ultraviolent (UV) disinfectant devices.
Chemical/Physical Disinfectant Devices: Disinfectant solutions and thermal processing of medical devices to transform non-sterile medical devices into sterile ones. The best disinfectant to use to kill the new coronavirus on surfaces contains bleach or at least 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfecting Devices: Utilizes UVA or UVC light to produce a germicidal effect generally after manual cleaning has been performed.
Air Purifiers: Used to kill pathogens or microorganisms in the air with UV radiation and removed through a filtration system.
It is important to maintain an adequate understanding of the different types of infectious disease found in healthcare environments, where potential hotspots may occur, and how best practices will help mitigate both staff, and patient exposure. With sterilization processes freeing medical devices of contaminants and disinfection processes removing resistant microorganisms, protection from spreading COVID-19 on surfaces and in the air has been greatly reduced.
Let our factory-trained technicians help you ensure that the equipment you use every day exceeds all expectations for patient safety and infection control. Call us today to talk with an ERD specialist.