After packaging, load the sterilizer with lighter items on top shelf and heavier items on the bottom shelf. Peel pouches should be placed on the edge, facing the same direction. Wrapped trays or cassettes can be placed at or on their side, depending on their design. Rigid containers should always be placed on the sterilizer shelf and not stacked unless validated by the manufacturer. Steam sterilization should be used whenever possible and autoclaves are available in either Gravity Displacement or Dynamic Air Removal cycles. Be sure to check with the instrument manufacturer's IFU to confirm the cycle type and parameters (e.g. exposure time and temperature). In addition to exposure time, a dry time is needed at the end of the cycle to ensure all packages are dry after processing. The appropriate dry time should be included in the instrument manufacturer's IFU.
Steam Sterilization Overview
Meeting the parameters of Time, Temperature and Steam under pressure, steam sterilization is the most effective and efficient sterilization for those offices using tabletop sterilizers. Understand how to maintain your sterilizer; use the appropriate accessories; record sterilization parameters and what to look for during the ideal sterilization cycle.
Loading A Tabletop Steam Sterilizer (Autoclave)
Overloading your sterilizer is the #1 cause of failures. Understanding proper loading of your pouches and cassettes is key to ensuring properly sterilization of your instruments.
In Office Biological Monitoring (Spore Testing)
Be sure your sterilizer is functioning properly by performing biological monitoring at least once weekly following CDC recommendations. Learn more about proper placement of spore vials inside your sterilizer . . .
Mail-In Biological Monitoring (Spore Testing)
Understand the process of Mail-In Biological Monitoring (which provides 3rd party validation), including the proper use and placement of spore test strips in both the sterilizer and mail-in envelope. Demonstrated using the Crosstex ConFirm Mail-In Sterilizer Monitoring Service.
Spore Test Failures, What to do next...
Did you recently fail a spore test? Don't panic. Review your sterilization procedures, check for common human errors and review infection control protocol. Visit the Failed Test Help page that will coach you through steps to help identify the cause of most common failed biological monitoring spore tests.