Washing Surgical Instruments Prior to Sterilization
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Washing surgical instruments, using the proper washing times and washing temperatures resulted in sterile surgical instruments. This washing of the surgical instruments was prior entral processing terminal sterilization.

The APIC study demonstrated that after washing the surgical instruments, all surgical instruments and utensils were sterile at the completion of the surgical instrument washing process. 

Association Professionals in Infection Control Epidemiology 
APIC Eighteenth Annual Conference and International Meeting 
by Ann Drake, President of APIC 

The application of universal precautions to instruments/utensils handling became an issue in the selection of replacing surgical instrument decontamination equipment for Central Sterile Supply at Ohio State University. The new technology of an automated Surgical Instrument Washer Decontaminator 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 pursuant to the efficacy of surgical instrument washers, a study was undertaken to establish the microbial safety of finished products and to identify any feature or function failure which could adversely affect outcome. The sequential functions of the Surgical Instrument Washer Decontaminator progress from a cold water pre wash at temperatures below 110 F 43 C, elevated temperature ~ 135 degrees F 57.2 C detergent washing, redundant rinses at ~ 194 F  90 C to 209 F 98.3 C, final purified water rinse with lubrication at ~ 194 F 90 C to 209 F 98.3 C, and hot air drying at 240° F 116 C, for 4 minutes. The Washer Decontaminator was challenged with selected instruments and utensils that are considered to be very difficult to clean. Included were 30 each of stainless steel non-perforating towel clips and stainless steel and glass medicine cups. Each item was rinsed with a 105 ml suspension of Staphylococcus aureus, domonsaeruginosa, Enterococcus fecalis and Candida albicans in nutrient media and then dried. The instruments were processed in the surgical instrument washer in 3 separate loads during times of high-volume SPD operation. All products were tested for sterility after being washed. 

All surgical instruments and utensils were sterile at the completion of the surgical instrument washing process. The surgical instrument washer decontaminator, using the proper sequence of washing treatments with an enzyme detergent surgical instrument lubricant cleaner rendered the highest quality washing outcomes.

Ann Drake, President of APIC, Director of SPD Ohio State University
John Temple, President and Director of Marketing

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