A recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) has highlighted the risks of manual reprocessing methods for medical devices.1 The study found that manual cleaning generated droplets that travelled more than 7 feet from the source, putting technicians working in sterile processing departments at risk of exposure to patient fluids. Splash was generated by almost every step of the manual cleaning workflow, particularly during rinsing of the ultrasound probe or other device.
The study was conducted in a sterile processing department at a large medical centre, specifically designed with a layout to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. All sterile processing staff taking part in the study were wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and manual cleaning was completed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Splashing of patient fluids represents another risk for manual reprocessing staff, in addition to the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals or vapours. The risk of chemical exposure during bulk liquid disinfection is high, with multiple steps of the workflow potentially exposing staff to chemicals or vapours. This exposure can potentially causing dermatitis, asthma or anaphylaxis.2
The new findings reinforce the need for strong engineering controls and better PPE, but also highlight the benefits of automated reprocessing technologies for use at point of care. The trophon device is a point of care alternative to centralized disinfection with bulk liquid chemicals. With its enclosed design, the trophon device minimizes the risk of chemical exposure or splashing. The disinfectant is supplied in a sealed cartridge and emptied automatically at the end of the cycle, meaning there is no need to mix or handle hazardous chemicals. The trophon device has undergone extensive vapour and residual testing to ensure that it is safe to use at point of care without putting patients or staff at risk of chemical exposure.
- Ofstead C et al. AJIC 2022; 50:1200-1207.
- Pearlman O. J Diagn Med Sonogr. 2019;35(1):49-57.