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Decontamination & Sterilization Solutions


Reduce the Risk

of Infection

Ensuring your surgical instruments are sterile

Infection prevention programmes require thorough cleaning and sterilization of surgical instruments to assure safety for use. Healthcare and life science professionals worldwide trust 3M to help them monitor all stages of the sterilization process, including equipment, load, pack and exposure monitoring. With a comprehensive portfolio, education and training resources, 3M can help you find the right decontamination solution for your sterilization needs. Contact a specialist to find out more.

Together we can reduce the risk of infection

At any one time 6.4% of all patients in the UK have a Health Care Associated Infection (HCAI).1

UK National Audit Office reports that HCAIs cause at least 5000 deaths and cost the NHS at least £1bn annually.2

A conservative estimate by the EU suggests that HAIs lead to 37,000 deaths and cost €5.48 billion each year, excluding productivity loss.3

Innovative Decontamination & Sterilization Solutions

Innovative Decontamination & Sterilization Solutions

3M delivers a comprehensive approach to all areas of monitoring and record keeping. For more than 50 years, 3M has maintained a trusted reputation for innovation in sterilization products. 3M technical services help improve the knowledge, professionalism and productivity of the entire sterile processing department.

You'll be surprised what a difference 3M's approach, training and solutions could make to your hospital or life sciences facility.

 


Wherever Sterilization is Required, 3M Can Help Monitor its Effectiveness

Wherever Sterilization is Required, 3M Can Help Monitor its Effectiveness

Given the increased demand for quick turnaround of processed items, sterile processing can be challenging. But there can be no compromise when it comes to the adherence to standards, guidelines and recommended practices.

  1. Choice
    3M products cover every stage of the sterilization process.

  2. Quality
    3M sterilization solutions adhere to internationally recognised standards.

  3. Reliability
    Knowing 3M products' readings are accurate and consistent offers peace of mind.

  4. Innovation
    3M understands your challenges and offers solutions to help you tackle them.

3M puts our leadership, sterilization products, services and education tools to work for you.



Best Practices

Best Practices

Key steps in the Sterilization Monitoring Process

The full Sterilization Monitoring process can be monitored by using 3M's Sterilization Solutions to provide the highest level of reliability. Learn more about sterilization best practices below:

 


Standards and Guidelines

Learn how 3M can help you achieve sterilization best practice at your facility.

Equipment Control

Equipment monitoring is a way to find out whether or not a sterilizer is doing its job properly. To monitor pre-vac steam sterilisers, begin each day with a steam penetration test to detect air leaks, inadequate air removal, inadequate steam penetration and the presence of noncondensable gases, any of which can compromise sterility.

3M recommended best practices for Equipment Monitoring:

  • Run steam penetration tests daily in a warm sterilizer to avoid false failures
  • Place the steam penetration test pack on the bottom shelf of the cart, over the drain, in an empty sterilizer

Contact a Specialist to learn how 3M can help you ensure sterilization best practices at your facility.

Exposure Monitoring

Exposure monitoring helps determine at a glance whether each pack or item has been exposed to the sterilization process.

3M recommended best practice for Exposure Monitoring:

Externally visible chemical indicators for exposure monitoring should be used with every package. Exposure monitors are type 1 Process Indicators (ISO 11140-1).

They can be on tapes or other devices used to seal packs, on load cards or on PCD labels. The most common type 1 process indicator used for Exposure Monitoring is indicator tape.

Contact a Specialist to learn how 3M can help you ensure sterilization best practices at your facility.

Load Monitoring

Load monitoring is the process in which the individual load is monitored and released. Specific information is provided to show that the conditions for sterilization have been achieved, based on the result of a biological indicator (BI). BI’s are unique because they detect the actual killing of microbial spores inside the sterilizer.

3M Recommended Best Practices for Load Monitoring:

  • Direct measurement of temperature and pressure does not ensure sterilization condition, and because chemical indicators cannot replace biological indicators, it’s best practice to use BIs for load monitoring.
  • If a test BI is positive, and the cause of the failure is not immediately identifiable, all items from that load and all items processed since the last load with a negative BI result should be recalled and reprocessed.

Contact a Specialist to learn how 3M can help you ensure sterilization best practices at your facility.

Pack Monitoring

Use chemical indicators for internal monitoring of packs, trays, containers and peel pouches to immediately identify if one or more of the critical parameters for achieving sterilization have been met, and that the sterilizing conditions were present.

3M recommended best practices for Pack Monitoring:

  • Place an integrator in the geometric centre of each pack, and peel pouch or tray to be steam sterilized. In rigid containers, place an integrator in two opposite corners of each level. In multi-level containers supplied, place an integrator in the centre of each level.
  • The indicators in the packs are to be checked by the end user of the sterilized medical devices. If the result is not a pass, the medical devices should not be used. See WHO Safety Checklist

Contact a Specialist to learn how 3M can help you ensure sterilization best practices at your facility.

Learn More

Useful References

  • Bowie, Kelsey and Thompson, the Bowie and Dick autoclave tape test, the Lancet, Vol. 16, page 586-587, March 16, 1963
  • J.P.C.M. van Doornmalen, J. Dankert, A validation survey of 197 hospital steam sterilizers in The Netherlands in 2001 and 2002, Journal of Hospital Infection, 59, 126–130, 2005
  • J.P.C.M van Doornmalen, K. Kopinga, Review of surface steam sterilization for validation purposes. American Journal of Infection Control, 36, 86-92, 2008
  • ISO 11140-1 Sterilization of health care products - Chemical indicators
  • ISO 17665 Sterilization of health care products - Moist heat
  • EN 285 Sterilization - Steam Sterilizers - Large Sterilizers
  • Biological indicators should comply with the ISO 11138-1:2006 and ISO 11138-3:2006.

Application

Learn how 3M can help you achieve sterilization best practice at your facility.

Steam Penetration Tests

Steam penetration tests are the original Bowie & Dick test pack, specified in the ISO 11140-3 and alternative penetration tests. The alternative tests have to fulfil the requirements in the ISO 11140-4. Most alternative tests are either equipped with chemical indicators or with parametric indicators (UK). In Europe there is a tendency to go to physical indicators, like 3M Electronic Test System (ETS).

Each test has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, chemical indicators are easy to use, but if a problem is indicated, it's difficult to conclude what the problem might be. With a parametric penetration test, data can be made available for trouble shooting.

Reminder: If your quality system is based on European norms, it might be necessary to perform an Air Leakage Test (ALT) periodically or even daily.

View products to learn more about how our solutions can support your equipment monitoring process.

Learn how 3M can help you achieve sterilization best practice at your facility.

Contact a Specialist


Use of Indicators

A biological indicator detects the actual killing of microbial spores inside the sterilizer. Chemical indicators, or CIs, only indicate that one or more of the critical parameters for achieving sterilization have been met.

New technology from 3M has improved readout timelines. Our BIs yield faster results today than ever before, even as quickly as one hour. Because it is impractical to quarantine every load for many hours or days, as would be the case with conventional BIs, 3M recommends the use of 3M™ Attest™ Super Rapid Readout Biological Indicators and Test Packs, designed to give results in as little as one hour.

Thanks to the reliability and the quality of the monitoring information received, regular use of a BI can contribute to an improved sterilization process and better patient outcomes.

Learn how 3M can help you achieve sterilization best practice at your facility.

Contact a Specialist



Equipment Monitoring Products

Find out whether or not a sterilizer is doing its job properly.

Bowie & Dick Test Packs

Pack Monitoring Products

Identify if one or more of the critical parameters for achieving pack sterilization have been met.

3M™ Comply™ (SteriGage™) Steam and EO Chemical Indicators
3M™ Comply™ Colour Change Chemical Indicators

Exposure Monitoring Products

Determine at a glance whether each pack or item has been exposed to the sterilization process.

3M™ Comply™ Steam Indicator Tape
3M™ Comply™ Dry-Heat Indicator Tape
3M™ Comply™ Ethylene Oxide Indicator Tape
3M™ Comply™ Indicator Labels
3M™ Comply™ Instrument Protector

Record Keeping Products

3M can help you proceed with confidence with a comprehensive approach to all areas of monitoring and record keeping.

3M™ Comply™ Printing Applicator and Load Label System
3M™ Comply™ Record Keeping Equipment

Related Products

Test and monitor protein residuals on surgical instruments post disinfection with the 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Protein Test

References

1Health Protection Agency (2011) English National Point Prevalence Survey on Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Use, 2011

2National Patient Safety Agency: The Economic Case: Implementing near-patient alcohol handrub in your trust, 2004

3ECDC, Surveillance of surgical site infections in Europe, 2008-2009, Stockholm. ECDC, 2012.

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