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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and the Challenges of Surgical Instrument Reprocessing

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), commonly referred to as the human equivalent of mad cow disease, is caused by rogue, misfolded protein aggregates termed prions, which are infectious and cause fatal damages in the patient’s brain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines prions as “abnormal, pathogenic agents that are transmissible...

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Detecting Bioburden and Biofilm on Surgical Instruments Prior to Sterilization

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that over 30,000 patients die annually from surgical infections. Many of these surgical infections are caused by surgical instruments that remain contaminated with bioburden and/or biofilm after reprocessing. Even more troubling is the fact that when patients died from...

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ECRI Institute’s “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards” Part II

In Part I of this series (Elmed blog #30) we introduced ECRI Institute’s Health Devices Group “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2017.” This annual list identifies the greatest sources of danger to patients and offers practical, proven recommendations for reducing those risks and improving patient outcomes. The list details...

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ECRI Institute’s “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards” Part I

ECRI Institute is an independent, nonprofit research organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care. Since 1971, ECRI Institute has been producing publications (i.e., Health Devices), reports and materials to help improve the effectiveness, safety, and economy of health services.1 Even though this list was compiled in the...

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How to Properly Disinfect Reusable Medical Devices Part IV

In Part III of “How to Properly Disinfect Reusable Medical Devices” (Elmed blog #28) we discussed various disinfectants that are commercially available for use in healthcare facilities along with their intended uses. In Part IV of this series we will continue our look at various FDA approved disinfectants. The goal...

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How to Properly Disinfect Reusable Surgical Instruments Part I

Disinfection is the process designed to eliminate all pathogenic microorganisms from reusable surgical instruments prior to sterilization. In most instances, reusable surgical instruments and medical devices are disinfected by the use of approved liquid chemicals or by wet pasteurization. There are numerous variables that can affect the efficacy of the...

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How to Properly Clean Surgical Instruments Part III

The cleaning of surgical instruments is defined as the process of removing foreign material (e.g., bioburden, biofilm) from the instruments and is usually accomplished using water with detergents or enzymatic products that are suitable for use. As we mentioned in Part I of this series on cleaning, surgical instruments must...

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How to Properly Clean Surgical Instruments Part II

In Part I of ‘How to Properly Clean Surgical Instruments’ we discussed how important proper, thorough and complete cleaning is when it comes to protecting patients from surgical infections caused by instruments that remain contaminated after reprocessing. Specifically, surgical instruments must be thoroughly cleaned before high-level disinfection and sterilization because...

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How to Properly Clean Surgical Instruments Part I

The cleaning of surgical instruments is defined as the process of removing foreign material (e.g., bioburden, biofilm) from the instruments and is usually accomplished using water with detergents or enzymatic products that are suitable for use. Surgical instruments must be thoroughly cleaned before high-level disinfection and sterilization because inorganic and...

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News

The Importance of Sterile Packaging Systems on Patient Safety

In previous Elmed blogs we’ve discussed the importance of having clean, sterile, moisture-free instruments for every patient, every time. Achieving this goal is crucial when trying to minimize patient risk and patient harm caused by contaminated instruments and reusable medical devices. CS/SPD reprocessing personnel have always been told that “If...

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