February 26, 2020

Study: Inadequate precleaning can jeopardize sterilization of surgical tools

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by William A. Rutala, PhD, MPH, and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which compared three low-temperature sterilization technologies to steam sterilization of simulated inadequately precleaned surgical tools, found steam sterilization to be the most effective and with the largest margin of safety.

Vaporized hydrogen peroxide failed to completely sterilize the tools 76.3 % of the time. Ethylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide gas plasma both had failure rates of 1.9%.


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The findings reinforce the need for meticulous cleaning of surgical instruments and endoscopes and the need for reliable and validated cleaning monitoring methods that are predictive of infection risk, the researchers say.

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