The Importance of Surgical and Medical Asepsis

medical-asepsis-blogIt goes without saying that when a person enters a hospital, it is expected that the hospital is clean, sterile and the patient will be protected from harmful contamination.

To accomplish this cleanliness, medical professionals have a series of protocol to follow to achieve asepsis, the absence of pathogenic microorganisms. Within the umbrella of asepsis there are two subcategories, medical and surgical, which encompass different aspects of cleanliness with the common goal of keeping patients safe.

Medical asepsis is reducing the number of microorganisms to prevent their spread, but not necessarily depleting them. This includes things such as hand washing, wearing latex gloves, wearing a face mask, and general cleaning of the environment.

Medical asepsis does play an important role in the medical industry, however, is not sufficient for more invasive surgical procedures where exposure and risk is much higher for the patient. For instances such as this, surgical asepsis is employed.

Surgical asepsis means that all microorganisms are completely diminished and measures are taken to ensure that the environment remains free of the pathogens. Generally, surgical asepsis is used when a foreign object is coming in contact with a person’s body, which can range from simply inserting an IV to instruments used for open heart surgery.

Regardless of the complexity of the procedure, one thing that remains a constant is the need for sterile instruments and supplies. In order to do this, various sterilization techniques are used, either by the medical device manufacturers, or the hospital staff.

Because of the variety of materials that make up the tools used, different sterilization techniques are often employed. For example, heat stable materials such as metal surgical instruments are sterilized using steam, while heat sensitive materials such as gauze may use ethylene oxide chemical sterilization. Other medical products such as vials for holding aseptic filling are generally sterilized using depyrogenation, or dry heat sterilization.

For all sterilization processes, validation is needed to ensure that the product has reached the correct sterility and all microorganisms have been efficiently depleted. Data loggers are often used for this validation because readings can be reviewed immediately after the cycle ends and a determination of validation can be reported on, instead of having to wait days or weeks as some other validation techniques require.

MadgeTech offers data loggers for all types of sterilization processes as well as offering secure software systems to aid with 21 CFR part 11 compliance. For steam sterilization and autoclave validation specifically, MadgeTech has designed theAVS140 Autoclave Validation System that combines the secure software and IQOQPQ guidelines with high temperature and pressure data loggers, bundled together with a multi logger download interface and storage case for all. The AVS140 is an ideal turn-key autoclave validation and maintenance solution commonly used by medical personnel.

The asepsis protocols that healthcare professionals perform each day are vital to public safety and virus containment. Using data logging technology to streamline these processes helps to deliver consistent, reliable and successful results.