What is the “best” sterilization equipment used in hospitals?

While there are many methods available for hospitals to sterilize their equipment, few are as effective and practical as autoclaves (source: celitron.com). By reading following article you will be able to learn more about how they work and why so many medical facilities use them!

Medical equipment sterilization during a pandemic: the everyday struggle of hospitals

Health-care associated infections are always among the highest challenges medical facilities have to face, but in times like the spread of the coronavirus, it is even more crucial to prevent them from happening and spreading outside. Since hospital staff are at the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 and have to treat a lot of infected patients within the same building, without the proper way to ensure sterile equipment, the risk of patients contracting the virus within the facility can be very high.

This an issue of the greatest importance in every country, and must be dealt with effectively, without compromising the safety of hospital staff and patients alike. Cleaning and disinfection are of course necessary steps in order to get rid of blood and other foreign particles and to take away the breeding ground of some germs, and to prevent the corrosion of your most useful (and expensive) tools. Still this is only a preliminary phase for the surest way to destroy all infectious microorganisms: sterilization.

Open-flame sterilization is one of the oldest methods available, and while it still a viable process even today, there are a lot more modern and practical ways to ensure the risk of health-care associated infections are kept to a minimum. Just like steam sterilization.

How do autoclaves help hospitals in the sterilization of their equipment?

After the appropriate cleaning and disinfection of the tools in use, they can finally be prepped for steam sterilization, a process that is perfectly handled by pressure cooker-like machines called autoclaves.

This kind of method allows hospitals to treat different types of equipment and almost any material which could present a risk of infection: it only depends on the model of autoclave chosen and the cycle the machine uses to work. In both principle and practice, one of the reasons steam sterilizers are especially effective, is because they can remove all the trapped air inside the machine with a powerful vacuum system, and use high-pressure steam that can reach temperatures ranging from 121 to 134 degrees Celsius. Depending on the load of the machine, this means the sterilization process can be achieved in as fast as 21 minutes.

This means that even if other methods can achieve the same level of sterility, autoclaves can do it in a much faster time.

Of course, even among autoclaves there a lot of different options available, but the most professional manufacturers can offer a lot of customizable options such as capacity size, cycle parameters, and different accessories. This way hospitals, and even smaller sized medical facilities can choose the equipment that is most suited to their sterilization needs!