HUMAN MEDITEK CO., LTD.
Sterilization is the act or process, physical or chemical, that destroys or eliminates all forms of life, especially microorganisms. In healthcare facilities presents evidence based recommendations for cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization of patient-care medical devices and for cleaning and disinfecting the healthcare environment.
Sterilization is a process intended to remove or destroy all viable forms of microbial life, including bacterial spores, to achieve an acceptable sterility assurance level (AAMI, 1995).
The sterilization methods discussed include steam sterilization, ethylene oxide (ETO), hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, and liquid peraceptic acid. When properly used, these cleaning disinfection, and sterilization processes can reduce the risk of infection associated with the use of invasive and noninvasive medical and surgical devices. However, for these processes to be effective, health-care workers should strictly adhere to current cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization recommendations.
Cleaning methods are reviewed since cleaning and removal of organic/inorganic material are required prior to disinfection and sterilization for maximum effectiveness.
The removal, usually with detergent and water, of adherent visible soil, blood, protein substances, and other debris from the surfaces, crevices, serrations, joints and lumens of instruments, devices and equipment by a manual or mechanical process that prepares the items for safe handling and/or further decontamination (AAMI, 1995).
Disinfection is the destruction of pathogenic and other kinds of microorganisms by thermal or chemical means. Disinfection is a less lethal process than sterilization because it destroys most recognized pathogenic microorganisms, but not necessarily all microbial forms, such as bacterial spores. Disinfection process do not ensure the margin of safety associated with sterilization processes (AAMI, 1995).
The chemical disinfectants discussed for patient-care equipment include alcohols, glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, iodophors, otho-phthalaldehyde, peracetic acid, phenolics, quaternary ammonium compounds, and chlorine.
There are five elements in the definition of disinfection that have been given in the preceding discussion. These are that a disinfectant (a) removes infection; (b) kills, not just inhibits, microorganisms in the vegetative stage; (c) does not necessarily kill spores; (d) is ordinarily a chemical but can be a physical agent; and (e) is used only on inanimate objects, not on the human or animal body. It is important to make these distinctions if we are to distinguish the tern disinfectant from other terms that follow, such as antiseptic, sporicide, and bacteriostat.