Disinfection and sterilization are absolutely necessary to prevent medical and surgical instruments from transmitting infectious pathogens to patients. Patient care items and equipment are classified into categories of critical, semicriical, and noncritical. Critical items come into contact with sterile tissue or the vascular system. Semicritical items come into contact with mucous membranes or non-intact skin. Examples are some endoscopes and diaphragm fitting rings. Noncritical items come into contact with the skin, but not the mucous membranes. Examples are stethoscopes, bed rails, over bed tables.
Because some items can’t be sterilized by heat (common sterilization method), high-level disinfectants are used to disinfect the items to prevent the item from potentially infecting another patient. According to the CDC, high-level disinfection is normally defined as complete elimination of all microorganisms in or on an instrument, except for small numbers of bacterial spores. The FDA definition of high-level disinfection is a sterilant used for a shorter contact time to achieve a 6-log10 kill of an appropriate Mycobacterium species. The CDD also states that cleaning followed by high-level disinfection should eliminate enough pathogens to prevent transmission of infection.
Many high-level disinfectants are based on: glutaraldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, and ortho-phthaldehyde (OPA). Some solutions require dilution or activation while others are ready to use.
Test Strips are required to test the solutions to ensure they can efficiently destroy microorganisms. The test strips measure the minimum effective concentration (MEC) required for high-level disinfection. The test strips are generally specific to the product and they are sold separately.
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All prices are in USD.