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STERILIZATION & DISINFECTION

Antiseptics
• Typically an antiseptic is a chemical agent that is applied to living tissue to kill microbes
Disinfectants
• A disinfectant is a chemical or physical agent that is applied to inanimate objects to kill
microbes
Microorganism
• an organism that is microscopic (usually too small to be seen by the naked human eye)
Pathogenic Microorganisms
Sterility
• indicates a micro-environment (the surgical field) made free of infectious microorganisms.
Disinfection
• reducing the number of viable microorganisms present in a sample
Sterilization
• killing of all microorganisms in a material or on the surface of an object
Bactericidal
• antimicrobial that kills a microorganism
Bacteriostatic
• antimicrobial inhibits bacterial growth but does not kill the bacteria

Methods of Sterilization
A. Physical Sterilization
1. Moist Heat – kills all bacteria by coagulating or denaturing of the protein of the bacteria
a. Boiling (non-pressure sterilizer)
b. Saturated Steam under pressure (AUTOCLAVE)
2. Dry Heat – recommended for use only where direct contact of material with steam is
impractical of not available
a. Dry Heat Autoclave (hot air oven) – used for oil, ointment, and powders.
B. Chemical Sterilization
• Accomplished by use of ethylene oxide gas
• Ethylene oxide is a chemical agent that kills microorganisms, including spores, by
interfering with the normal metabolism of protein and reproductive processes, resulting in
death of cells
Shelf-Life – expiration date
1. Condition of Storage
• Free of dust, dirt and vermin
• Paper-wrapped/muslin-wrapped items good for 30 days, open shelving 21 days
• Protect from extreme temperature
2. Material used for packaging
• Muslin and paper wrapped items may be stored for 24-30 days, afterwhich re-
sterilization is required, but if sealed in airtight plastic bag, following cooling or
aerating, shelf life can be prolonged from 6-12 months
3. Seal of the package
• Tape sealed packages wrapped in non-warm fabrics or plastic film can be stored
for 3-4 months
4. Integrity of the package
Disinfection
• It differs from Sterilization by its lack of sporocidal power
• Used in the OR to kill microorganisms on inanimate surfaces and objects that cannot be
sterilized
Limitations of Chemical Disinfection
• Doesn’t KILL SPORES
• Real STRENGTH not known
• LONG TIMING
• DIFFICULT to submerge some articles
• NOT SUITABLE for some materials
• Can cause IRRITATION to tissue
• ABILITY to disinfect is limited to max concentration
Uses for chemical disinfection
• WOVEN
• CATHETER
• ENDOSCOPIC Instruments
• POLYETHYLENE
• EYE Surgery
Pointers when Using Chemical Disinfection
• Free from blood, secretions
• Rinse and dry under sterile conditions
• Solutions may be rinsed off if practical
DISINFECTANTS
• Formaldehyde (Formalin)
• Glutaraldehyde (Cidex)
• Phenol 100%
• Lysol
• Zephiran Chloride 17%
ANTISEPTICS
• Hexacholorophene - neurotoxic
• Betadine –watch out iodine sensitivity
• Mercurochrome
• Aqueous Zephiran
• Chorhexidine Gluconate