AAMI Steam Sterilization Standard is Updated

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Those looking for information on steam sterilization wrapping will have additional guidance as a result of the adoption of a new amendment to ANSI/AAMI ST79 - Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in healthcare facilities.

The amendment, published as Amendment 4:2013, provides four revised figures of sterilization wrap drawings and a new annex on moisture assessment. Rose Seavey, president and chief executive officer of Seavey Healthcare Consulting, LLC, said the revised figures will serve as improved guides for sterilization professionals.

“The updated figures are much better pictures and more intuitive,” Seavey says. “We also added wording to each of the drawings to describe each step in the four different techniques for sterilization wrapping,” she added.

Cynthia Spry, an independent clinical consultant and co-chair of AAMI's Steam Sterilization Hospital Practices Working Group, added that the drawings will make it more clear to professionals how to wrap packages for sterilization.

In addition to the drawings, Annex P on moisture assessment will serve as “a very valuable annex for healthcare facilities experiencing wet packs or wet loads,” Seavey says.

Spry notes that ST79 previously did not contain much information about wet packs, including why they occur or what to do in response. Sterilization professionals found that this information was scattered throughout the document and offered little assistance on how to fix the problem. With the new annex, however, sterilization professionals will have a clear resource for guidance.

“The new annex defines both wet loads and wet packs and provides an algorithm and an extensive checklist to assist users in identifying and rectifying the cause for moisture in or on instrument sets following sterilization.  I think users will find it to be a very needed and useful tool,” Spry asys.

“The annex includes questions to ask if you have a wet pack or wet load, and it also has a moisture assessment checklist and a moisture assessment flowchart,” Seavey says.  “I believe sterile processing professionals will find these tools very valuable as they explore causes for wet packs and try to prevent future wet packs/wet loads.”

The updated standard will be available for purchase at my.aami.org/store/. The price is $140 for AAMI members and $280 for nonmembers. The amendments (without the full standard) will be available in print ($40 for AAMI members and $80 for nonmembers) and as a free download.

Source: AAMI

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