Surgical instruments with complex design, shape or construction may trap contaminants that are not removed by conventional thermal disinfection procedures, thereby posing a health risk to medical personnel and patients alike. Medical instrument steam jet cleaners such as Elmasteam, available from Tovatech, have proven effective in Central Sterile Supply Departments (CSSD) for cleaning otherwise inaccessible areas prior to thermal disinfection and sterilization.
Fast, Effective, Selective Steam Cleaning
Using tap or distilled water to deliver dry or wet steam jets at pressures to 8 bar (116 psi) Elmasteam 3000 and Elmasteam 5000 medical steam cleaners allow personnel to pre-clean quickly, effectively and precisely otherwise inaccessible areas such as the interior of surgical reamers or implant tools before they are placed into the thermal disinfector. They deliver uninterrupted steam feeds at approximately 160˚C (320˚F) with minimum pressure loss during continuous operation such as in a hospital’s CCSD. Table mounted, they are available in capacities of 3 and 5 liters (~3 and 5 quarts).
Steam is delivered by fixed nozzles and/or by a flexible hose. The units are operated by a foot-activated switch or by on-off buttons mounted at the end of the flexible hose terminating in a nozzle that directs steam to objects being cleaned.
Accessories for Steam Cleaning Medical Instruments
Accessories designed especially for cleaning medical instruments are easily attached to the hand nozzle by the use of universal Leur-Lock connections. Included along with a holding rack and mounting pliers are a 49.5 cm (19.5 in) and 20 cm (7.8 in) minimally invasive surgery hollow needle for duct shanks both with steam outlets on the side, a straight and curved hollow needle attachment with the steam outlet on the tip, a female-female Leur-Lock adapter, and a large and medium catheter attachment. With these attachments, steam pressure is guided directly into the rinsing canal of medical instruments without the slightest pressure loss.
Tips for Using a Steam Jet Cleaner for Medical Instruments
It’s always a good idea to establish standard operating procedures for using a medical instrument steam cleaner and place them in your operations manual.
- Be sure the unit is filled with water before turning it on.
- Wear protective clothing and gloves. Remember you are working with steam and contaminated instruments.
- If practical, accumulate instruments to be cleaned during steam cleaning sessions rather than clean them a piece at a time.
- Before applying the steam jet pass a thin wire brush through tubing or otherwise dislodge gross contaminants on the instruments.
- Immerse objects being cleaned – especially tubing with openings along the length – before applying the steam. This helps avoid contaminant splatter. Work in a confined area to control splatter if this is impractical.
- Direct the steam jet to all areas that may be missed by thermal disinfecting.
- Thoroughly rinse the medical instruments before placing them into the thermal disinfector.
- Clean the inside and outside of the unit on a regular basis.
In summary, medical instrument steam jet cleaners are an important tool for safeguarding personnel and patients from transmitted diseases due to insufficient removal of contaminants.
How do you use steam to clean medical instruments? What other cleaning and disinfecting procedures are in place at your organization?