Why are pre-vacuum autoclaves a better choice for hospitals?

Why are pre-vacuum autoclaves a better choice for hospitals? By Digital Solutions - August 24, 2021

Pre-vacuum autoclaves for hospitals

According to well-known autoclave manufacturer Celitron, pre-vacuum autoclaves are better suited for hospitals for a number of reasons. Read on to find out why this particular type of steam sterilizer is more effective for sterilizing medical instruments and hospital waste before its disposal!

What other types of steam sterilizers are there apart from pre-vacuum autoclaves and how are they different?

The two most basic steam sterilization cycles used by autoclaves are the following: gravity and vacuum. This essentially defines how they operate to sterilize the medical instruments or hospital waste you load inside their chamber.

All autoclaves work to remove the air from their chamber and then allow the high-temperature steam to sterilize the materials inside. Gravity displacement is the most basic method to achieve that: air is displaced by steam from the chamber via simple gravity. No mechanical assistance is provided throughout this process. Air is simply forced out through a drain event thanks to steam having a lower density: this makes it rise to the top of the chamber, which eventually pushes the air out.

While gravity autoclaves can sterilize basic medical loads, they are neither as fast nor as polyvalent as pre-vacuum autoclaves. The load sterilized by gravity autoclaves can still be too hot and wet after the sterilization process is over, and more complex loads, such as porous materials cannot be treated.

This is why pre-vacuum autoclaves work better in medical environments

Compared to gravity displacement steam sterilizers, pre-vacuum autoclaves use a powerful vacuum pump to remove all the air from their chamber prior to the high-temperature and high-pressure steam entering it. This not only makes the steam sterilization process faster but also more effective, since the air is guaranteed to be completely removed from the chamber. This allows the steam to penetrate and sterilize every single part of the load inside. In some models, this process is completely automated, and extra safety features prevent the door from being opened while the temperature inside the autoclave is still too hot.

Pre-vacuum autoclaves can not only sterilize unwrapped goods, glassware, red bag waste, and flat surgical tools, but also porous materials, wrapped goods and surgical packs, and partially vented containers.

In a nutshell, pre-vacuum autoclaves allow hospital staff to work much more effectively, in safer conditions, and can sterilize more types of medical instruments and waste than gravity displacement steam sterilizers.

What kind of pre-vacuum autoclave should a hospital get?

Steam sterilizers that are classified as “class B autoclaves” can be considered as pre-vacuum autoclaves, since they use a powerful vacuum pump to remove all the air from their chamber. They are considered to be the most sophisticated type of autoclaves a hospital can use.
Hospitals should also consider how much waste they generate each day, and how many medical instruments they need to sterilize. Medium and large autoclaves are an excellent choice for medical facilities that need to treat a lot of materials each day: depending on the model, the chamber capacity can vary between 75 and 880 liters.

By Digital Solutions - August 24, 2021

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