Steam sterilization: are we applying recent advances in control and validation process?



Zorgani A, Ellabib M

Department of Microbiology, El Fateh Medical University, Tripoli, Libya

Libyan J Infect Dis. 2009;3(2):3-6


Currently, sterilization processing is at the dawn of a new era of quality improvement. There are many new technologies demonstrated to be effective that will contribute to improved patient care. The efficiency, reliability, and performance monitoring of modern equipment is continually improving; however, the fundamental process remains essentially the same in most health care settings. This article emphasizes the steam sterilization process commonly available in countries with limited resources because it is a simple, efficient, reliable, fast and inexpensive way to sterilize reusable medical devices. Universally accepted approaches to validation or process approval have been introduced as a suitable standard to measure conformity for which an international standard (ISO) has been published that identifies requirements for sterilization processes. The ISO should provide a format for establishing a common standard for the acceptance or rejection of sterilizing processes. A national guideline defines all the correct processes of sterilization to insure all medical devices are properly processed and safe for reuse on patients by implementing the following: correct cleaning; packaging; loading; proper use of sterilization equipment; monitoring; and storage. Therefore, all health care settings in Libya, should adopt central sterile service department system and all relevant factors must be taken into consideration, including instrument characteristics, design of the load carrier, process controls, water qualities and the computability of washer-disinfector and detergent, as it is the key solution that will increase safety for patients and staff.

Keywords: Steam sterilization, sterilization quality, sterilization efficiency, ISO 15883, ISO 17665