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Effect of Long-term Storage on Sterile Status of Devices in Surgical Packs

  • N. Ariene Klapes (a1) (a2), Velvl W. Greene (a1) (a2), Ann C. Langholz (a1) (a2) and Cindy Hunstiger (a1) (a2)

We investigated the effect of the following on the sterile integrity of surgical packs: four wrapping materials (two-ply reusable, nonbarrier wovens, both new and previously used; disposable, barrier nonwovens; and polypropylene peel pouches), dustcovers, two storage locations, and storage times ranging from 2 to 50 weeks. Two hundred sixty-three packs containing stainless steel coupons were prepared, wrapped, sterilized, and stored. Half of the packs were dustcovered prior to storage. At monthly intervals for a year, packs of each type were opened in a laminar flow hood, and the coupons inoculated into trypticase soy broth. The coupon contamination probabilities were 0.019 for reusable, woven packs; 0.017 for disposable, nonwoven packs; and 0.016 for peel pouches. These differences were not significant. The probability of finding a contaminated coupon in any pack after 50 weeks was 0.018. No trend toward increased probability of contamination over time was observed for any of the pack types studied.

Corresponding author
Univetsity of Minnesota, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, Mayo Box 197, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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