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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1996 Feb;17(2):92-100.

Comparison of ion plasma, vaporized hydrogen peroxide, and 100% ethylene oxide sterilizers to the 12/88 ethylene oxide gas sterilizer.

Author information

1
St. Boniface General Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The performance of a standard gas sterilizer, which uses a mixture of 12% ethylene oxide (EtO) and 88% chlorofluorocarbon as the sterilizing gas (12/88), was compared to selected gas, ion plasma, and vaporized hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) sterilizers that do not use chlorofluorocarbons. The effect of serum and salt on sterilizer performance was evaluated.

DESIGN:

Test carriers (porcelain and stainless steel penicylinders, or 125-cm lengths of plastic tubing [internal diameter of 3.2 mm]) were inoculated with Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Mycobacterium chelonei, Bacillus stearothermophilus spores, Bacillus subtilis spores, and Bacillus circulans spores and then subjected to sterilization using 12/88, 100% EtO, ion plasma, or vaporized H2O2. The bacterial inoculum was prepared with and without 10% serum and 0.65% salt, and the residual bacterial load after sterilization as determined using viable counts.

RESULTS:

All of the sterilizers tested effected a six-log10 reduction of the bacterial inoculum on penicylinders, unless 10% serum and 0.65% salt were present, in which case the 100% EtO, vaporized H2O2, and ion plasma sterilizers were not as effective as the 12/88 sterilizer. None of the sterilizers could eradicate 10(6) CFU of all of the bacteria in 10% serum and 0.65% salt when inoculated inside a narrow lumen.

CONCLUSIONS:

The margin of safety for the 100% EtO, vaporized H2O2, and ion plasma sterilizers is less than that of the 12/88 sterilizer. The inability of all sterilizers, including the 12/88, to kill organisms in narrow lumens reliably when serum and salt were present raises concern about the current practice of gas sterilization of flexible endoscopes.

PMID:
8835444
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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