AUTOCLAVE PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS
Our AutoClave Performance Analysis provides the following:
Your facility depends on your department to provide sterile instruments and medical devices. You depend on your processes, indicators and autoclaves to produce those sterile instruments and equipment. However, over time the settings within your autoclave can drift, resulting in cycle changes that may not be detected by your indicators. Inevitable wear occurs within the mechanical components (valves, seals, etc) of the autoclave. This wear can reduce the performance of the autoclave.
An annual Autoclave Performance Analysis will confirm that your autoclave is performing to the standards you expect. In addition, an Autoclave Performance Analysis can help diagnosis problems with your autoclave, such as steam quality, superheated loads, and vacuum leak locations.AAMI, JCAHO and ISO have various recommendations and requirements for initial commissioning, monitoring and retesting of autoclaves. In addition, autoclaves should be recommissioned after a major failure or repair. Chemical and biological indicators, as well as Bowie-Dick tests are standard for routine monitoring. An Autoclave Performance Analysis is ideal for periodic confirmation of autoclave performance. Autoclave Performance Analysis differs from biological indicators, Bowie-Dick tests and the autoclave's own measuring system in several important ways. BI's measure the effect of time, temperature and pressure, but not autoclave activity. Bowie-Dick tests measure the effect of air removal, not the actual vacuum achieved. Autoclave temperature sensing systems typically measure temperature in one location within the drain. Similarly, pressure is usually measured at the steam input, not within the chamber. The Autoclave Performance Analysis equipment measures achieved temperature at twelve locations, as well as pressure within the chamber, every two seconds. This yields a three dimensional report of actual chamber performance.
How Autoclave Performance Analysis Works
Based on technology developed for offshore drilling, the measuring equipment was designed specifically for measuring autoclave performance, and has been in use in Europe for over 10 years. The body of the unit measures pressure. It is placed in the center of the autoclave chamber, while the 12 temperature sensors are arranged throughout the chamber in a predetermined pattern.
After the unit is set up, it is programmed and activated using an external computer. The computer is disconnected, the trolley with the unit is placed inside the autoclave, and the selected cycle is started. When the cycle is complete, the unit is removed from the autoclave, the captured data is downloaded, and is then analyzed, and the report prepared.
What Autoclave Performance Analysis Measures
These measurements indicate degree of air evacuation, and can identify potential problems related to noncondensible gases.
Correct sterilizing time is confirmed. Minimum and maximum temperatures are confirmed throughout the chamber. The pressure is confirmed as correct for the temperature. The predicted vs. actual temperature gives an indication of steam concentration.
These measurements indicate degree of steam evacuation, and can identify potential problems related to incomplete drying.After the Autoclave Performance Analysis is completed, the data is analyzed and put into a performance report.
The performance report includes a Summary of Findings, recommendations (if any), and various graphs to easily see activity within the chamber. It also includes all the data collected during the analysis, the equipment calibration certificate, and the Analysis Protocol.
The graphs include:
Overall Cycle Graph
Frequently Asked Questions
Does an Autoclave Performance Analysis replace using Biological indicators?
No, Autoclave Performance Analysis does not replace BI's. It is a measurement of the physical performance of the autoclave. You should continue to use all your current monitoring protocols.
Does the analysis interfere with our processing activities?
The analysis requires access to each autoclave for one empty cycle. We will work with you to minimize impact on your workload needs.
Do you have to connect to or modify our autoclaves?
No. The testing equipment is arranged on an empty cart (or within the chamber). It does not connect to the autoclave in any way.
Will you share your results with our autoclave technician, and explain your findings?
Yes. We are happy to work with autoclave technicians, and routinely do so when discrepancies are found.
How long have you been performing Autoclave Performance Analyses?
Our Analysts have been performing this service for over 6 years, and have worked with leading facilities throughout the United States.