Chemical/biological sterilization process indicators and low temperature sterilization processes
It has been a pleasure this month (September 2017) to host a specialist decontamination seminar in conjunction with the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM). Eastwood Park was delighted to welcome two eminent speakers, 3M Development Scientist, Dr Brian Kirk, and Science and Technical Director at STERIS Corporation, Richard Bancroft. The purpose of the day was to address the application of chemical and biological process indicators and low temperature sterilization processes, understanding their role and enabling more informed decisions on their use.
Both Brian and Richard are key figures in writing, developing and monitoring National, European and International standards as members of BSI, CEN and ISO committees responsible for developing standards for chemical and biological sterilization indicators and steam and ethylene oxide sterilization processes. Richard is the Convenor (Chairman) of ISO TC 198 working group 6 covering chemical indicators and Brian the Convenor of ISO TC 198 working group 3, moist heat sterilization.
Moist heat/steam sterilization cycles – used for sterilization of 90% of all sterile surgical instrument sets – are most commonly measured using parametric assessment methods. Low temperature sterilization processes – required for sterilization of a number of reusable medical devices – require other assessment methods including chemical and biological indicators.
The day included the history of chemical indicators, the technical performance of the Bowie Dick test and its relationship to the small load thermometric test as described in EN 285. The seminar addressed the benefit of chemical indicators in specific aspects of sterilization monitoring and how the use of a concerted monitoring approach utilizing biological indicators, chemical indicators and physical parameter monitoring can be considered best practice.
External contractors frequently conduct sterilization of reusable medical devices, but it is the medical device owners’ responsibility for ensuring the sterilization processes are effective, safe and that instruments are fit for use. The speakers addressed the three major low temperature processes used for “in-house” sterilization – ethylene oxide; low temperature steam with formaldehyde; vapour phase hydrogen peroxide sterilization, as well as considering the process characteristics, process development, validation and routine monitoring; concluding with an introduction to irradiation sterilization.
Lisa Slevin, Eastwood Park’s Learning and Development Manager commented: “We have been very fortunate to be able to draw on the knowledge and experience of two such experienced and highly regarded experts and I know our delegates valued this rare opportunity. We very much look forward to creating similar specialist events going forward and should anyone wish to attend in the future then they should leave their details with our sales team so that we can contact them in the future.”
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