Medical Sterilizers

Written by Norene Anderson
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Many types of medical sterilizers are on the market. Regardless of the brand, some general guidelines are relevant to all types of sterilizers and autoclaves. When autoclaving liquids, make sure the container is filled within the limits. Overfilling can cause serious problems for the unit and anyone near the system.

Some materials are sterilized prior to disposal to prevent the spread of bacteria. Keep the amount of material for disposal within the size capacities of the container for disposal. There should be a container to catch any overflow during autoclaving. The chamber trap should be monitored carefully for cleaning. Never open the door until the pressure gauge is at zero PSI.

Safety Measures for Medical Sterilizers

The door should never be opened on medical sterilizers during the time the machine is working. Temperatures for sterilizing are usually 250°F to 275°F. This can cause serious burn injury from the hot steam. The amount of time required for sterilizing varies with the material being sterilized. Some items require three minutes autoclaving time plus the dry cycle. Other items require 30 minutes or more plus drying time.

It is important to follow the guidelines for complete sterilization of medical supplies. The transfer of bacteria from one patient to another is not acceptable. Some bacteria must be subjected to the hot steam for longer periods than other bacteria. The type of instrument and contaminant will affect the length of sterilization, pressure setting, and temperature.


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