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Thread: Field Sterilization

  1. #1
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    Field Sterilization

    Did a search on sterilize and autoclave - nothing returned.

    One area I never dealt with while a medic was sterilization of packs, etc. We sent them to Central Supply and they did it.

    I understand that most pressure cookers do not go above 15 lbs pressure while autoclaves usually are at about 30 lbs pressure. I found a discussion that essentially said - double the time.

    What I'm wanting to know is once you've sterilized something - say a suture pack (instruments, gauze, drape, etc) - you've got a pack that is moist from the steam.

    How do you dry it out?

    Thanks
    WolfBrother

    People you take care of never want to hear you say "Dang!!! Look at that!".

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  2. #2
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    BTT,

    Seriously, how do get sterizlized instrument packs, etc that have been steam sterilized from the steam moist to dry??

    140 degree oven??

    How??
    WolfBrother

    People you take care of never want to hear you say "Dang!!! Look at that!".

    Any/all article's posted are reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

  3. #3
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    Thank goodness, I am not the only one wondering that. I was thinking maybe you just put the instruments in the pressure cooker not wrapped, use a sterilized pair of tongs to life them out and onto a presterilized wrap pack, wrap using the tongs then quickly do what? Put in a zip lock?

  4. #4
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    IIRC correctly the days when I last worked inside a hospital the packs were wrapped and inserted inside the autoclave. Some moisture condensed inside the plastic-style packs but was considered a non-issue. The cloth packs were allowed to dry in a warm air current (I believe) and were often delivered a wee bit damp if the day was over and the central supply folks were in a hurry to leave.

    RR
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  5. #5
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    GoatLady wrote:

    RR wrote:
    The cloth packs were allowed to dry in a warm air current (I believe) and were often delivered a wee bit damp if the day was over and the central supply folks were in a hurry to leave.
    I figured it had to be something like that - warm air current. So, with what I had in mind - a field expedient stove to put the packs in to dry.

    Thanks to all.
    WolfBrother

    People you take care of never want to hear you say "Dang!!! Look at that!".

    Any/all article's posted are reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

  6. #6
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    Here's a link to a discussion about using a home pressure canner (not pressure cooker) as an autoclave http://www.disknet.com/indiana_biolab/b024.htm
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  7. #7
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    We just used to place them on a rack next to an oven and let waste heat help dry them.

    Note that materials sterilized wrapped in cloth expire in a week and need to be re-steralized if not used that fast. These packes were used for surgery and ER - while packs for ambulances, etc were done in autoclave pouches (plastic) and had much longer shelf lives. I want to say 6mo - 2 years, but I really don't remember.

    The thing w/ the cloth packs is that they were allmost allways used within a day or two, if not later the same day, so it wasn't an issue.

    -t

    ps: thanks for the link!

  8. #8
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    How odd that search didn't find this... somethings broken!

    http://medtech.syrene.net/forum/showthread.php?t=133

    Pressure cooker as autoclave - biblio

    -t

  9. #9
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    > I understand that most pressure cookers do not go above 15 lbs pressure while autoclaves usually are at about 30 lbs pressure.

    The ref for Troendle GR discusses how to modify a pressure cooker to handle higher pressures.

    As to unmodified pressure cookers - yes, increasing time is one option, however, 15 lb is generally considered adequate.

    -t

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangent
    > I understand that most pressure cookers do not go above 15 lbs pressure while autoclaves usually are at about 30 lbs pressure.

    The ref for Troendle GR discusses how to modify a pressure cooker to handle higher pressures.

    As to unmodified pressure cookers - yes, increasing time is one option, however, 15 lb is generally considered adequate.

    -t
    Most autoclaves go to 30 psi absolute, or 15 psi gauge (above ambient) so a canner should work just fine. The idea in getting high pressure is increasing the temp of the steam above the 100C (or less) that you'd get at atmospheric pressure. at 1 atm above ambient (or 14.7 psig) the temp of the steam should be around 120C (it's been awhile).

    The autoclaves I've seen in the hospital run at 15psi.

    The key to sterilization is to get the entire package of stuff to the required temperature, so running for the specified time is key - and then let it cool, slowly.
    ***************************************
    Emergency Medicine - saving the world from itself, one person at a time. Life guarding the shallow end of the gene pool. Your first stop on your last trip, and the backstop to all other medical specialites.

  11. #11
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    Okay, guys, you have mentioned autoclave packs (plastic). Got me to wondering if those "boil-in-a-bag" plastic bags one can buy to pack cooked food at home with a heat sealer and then just throw them in boiling water to reheat the food would hold up in a pressure canner and would the items packed in the bags be sterilized (being sealed in plastic)?

  12. #12
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    autoclave plastic is more resistant - tougher.

    however, for a lower shelf life - that's a REALLY interesting idea!

    -t

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