December 1, 2008

A mighty weapon: Steam sterilization

By: OR Manager

In the war against microbes, one of the mightiest weapons is the steam sterilizer. Steam, considered the ideal sterilant, is recommended for sterilizing devices that are heat and moisture stable. Steam is nontoxic, readily available, and low in cost relative to other technologies. With the exception of prions, the particles responsible for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, steam sterilization readily kills microorganisms, including bacteria (including those in a spore state), viruses, and fungi responsible for life-threatening infections. Assuming all of the processes leading up to the sterilization process, such as cleaning, drying, packaging, and cycle selection, are carried out correctly; the steam quality is appropriate; and the sterilizer is working properly, there is every reason to have high confidence in the sterilization process.

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