Surgical Instrument Washers
Washers Disinfectors
Washer Sterilizers
Proper Washing Sequence
Disinfector Times and Temperatures

Study Results:
After being washed in a surgical instrument washer disinfector, that used the proper sequence of washing cycle times and temperatures with an enzyme surgical instrument cleaning detergentall instruments and utensils were sterile at the completion of the washing process.

APIC Study accepted, presentation at APIC
18th Annual Conference International Meeting
Nashville Tennessee
Oral Presentation,
A. Drake, RN and L. Ayers, MD,
Ohio State University Hospitals

Replacing the washer sterilizers due to inadequate cleaning, required testing a new technology of an automated thermal disinfection surgical instrument washer decontaminator, washer disinfector. The surgical instrument washer disinfector offered increased protection to our reprocessing staff due to decreased handling but raised concerns about the efficacy of thermal disinfection as opposed to traditional washer sterilization. Because of the limited scientific documentation of this new technology, a study was undertaken to establish the microbial safety, that is clean and safe to handle, of washed medical devices and to identify any mechanical or chemical functional failure which could adversely affect washing outcomes.

The surgical instrument washer disinfector proper sequence of cycle treatment times and temperatures was: cold water pre-wash, enzyme ultrasonic washing, enzyme detergent washing, purified water rinses, surgical instrument lubricant rinse, and hot air drying at 240 F for 4 minutes. The Surgical instrument Washer was challenged with selected instruments and utensils that are difficult to clean. Included were 30 each of  stainless steel non-perforating towel clips, stainless steel cups, and glass medicine cups. Each item was rinsed with a suspension of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus fecalis and Candida albicans in nutrient media and then dried. The instruments were processed by the surgical instrument washer disinfector during times of high volume throughput.

Washed Medical Devices Tested for Sterility

 Ten separate cultures were  taken of the final rinse solution of instrument lubricant and de-ionized water prior to the drying cycle.  A separate culture was taken of the instrument  lubricant fluid. All instruments and utensils tested were sterile at the completion of the process. The Surgical instrument  Washer is a valid replacement for the conventional washer-sterilizer.

Ann Drake, APIC President and Director of Sterile Supply, University of Ohio
John Temple, Product Development, CESCO

Replacing washer sterilizers due to inadequate cleaning was an issue for Central Sterile Processing, at the University of Ohio.